EXHIBITS

Creating a Utah Institution

At the end of the nineteenth century, Ogden was a booming railroad town. As the transportation hub for much of the western United States, it was an attractive place to start a new business. Given this favorable climate, the Becker family seized on the opportunity to bring their craft to a rapidly expanding market of miners, railway workers, and other thirsty westerners.

Original Becker Brewing and Malting Company Brew Plant, c. 1893
Original Becker Brewing and Malting Company Brew Plant, c. 1893
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Gustav Lorenz Becker Photograph Collection, SCAP0361 Box 001, Folder 05, Item 003)

The Beckers’ association with Ogden started while they were still in Minnesota. That’s when their business partner and fellow brewer, William Schellhas, purchased land along the Ogden River and opened the Schellhas Brewing Company in 1890. In 1891 Gus Becker moved from Minnesota to Ogden to assist in the brewing venture. He eventually bought a controlling interest in the company and, by 1892, reincorporated and renamed it the Becker Brewing and Malting Company. Shortly thereafter, John and Albert also moved out west to help operate the family’s new business. Gustav Becker served as president, Albert Becker as vice president, and John Becker as secretary.

Original Becker Plant on the Ogden River, c. 1893
Original Becker Plant on the Ogden River, c. 1893 [Click image to enlarge; click it again to browse all pages.]
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Gustav Lorenz Becker Photograph Collection, P0361 Box 001, Folder 04, Item 011)

The Becker Brewing and Malting Company sold stock to raise the capital necessary to operate the new brewery. Some of these funds came from wealthy eastern investors, but fellow Utahns chipped in as well. Perhaps the most famous local investors were the Browning family of Ogden, who had already amassed a considerable fortune manufacturing guns. Still, the Beckers needed a steady stream of revenue just in case their beer failed to catch on in Utah. That’s why, in 1895, the company secured the rights to be a Utah distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. It was this combination of location, capital, and a quality product that soon turned the Becker Brewing and Malting Company into a booming business.