The Great Immigrant Beer Conspiracy

People get swept up in crazy conspiracies is nothing new. Of course, since beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage it’s no surprise that it happened before with beer. This particular story isn’t just a crazy conspiracy theory. It involves a Congressional investigation, global geopolitics, and of course beer.

For more interesting history on beer check our Gambrinus – Beer Man, Beer Myth, Beer Legend.

An old black and white photo showing German immigrants arriving at the US port.
Credit: https://www.thoughtco.com/germans-to-america-1421984

How it all started

It’s time for the people to know the truth. Read a report from the Senate Judicial Committee in 1919. Foreign agents have infiltrated the US and began to spread their influence on politics and US elections. They did so by underwriting propaganda, influencing reporters, and even attempting to buy a newspaper. According to the Senate report, these agents undertake and see by those secret methods to control party nominations, party machinery, whole political parties and thereby control the government of state and nation.

Senate Committee was investigating brewers, specifically German brewers. The investigation had started years earlier. As World War One began to consume the entire European continent and by extension their colonies all around the world. The US had tried to remain neutral and out of the war. Economically the US was far from neutral. They were gladly selling the English and French anything and everything they needed for their war effort.

The German Empire didn’t appreciate their enemies getting more US goods than they got and began sinking US merchant ships.

The US entering the WWI.

A newspaper headline of US entering the war.
Credit: https://todayinhistory.blog/2019/04/06/april-6-1917-us-enters-ww1/

Several groups remained opposed to the war. Especially German immigrants to the US. German immigrants were some of the most numerous in the US at the time. In the early 1900s, German immigrants and their kids maintained a strong national identity. The loyalty of German immigrants was thrown into question when America finally declared war in April of 1917.

In August of 1918, the Federal Government began acting on mistrust by seizing the estate of prominent German brewer Gottfried Kruger. An 80-year-old man who emigrated from Germany. This was followed a couple of months later when two other German brewers in New York and New Jersey were accused of undermining America by helping finance the purchase of a newspaper and giving a platform for socialism in the US.

the Senate Committee found that German brewers had corrupted American politics by funding German social clubs. That encouraged their America born children to remember their heritage. The Congress believed they had frequently succeded in influencing primaries, elections, and political organization. They also hired authors to write articles supporting certain political positions they favored.

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