Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.

Search this site and our local communities. Wisconsin History Search Only

You may now join, or renew your SLAHS membership using your PayPal account, credit, or debit card.

Please use the following link to make a secure on-line payment.

About Us
Search this site
Monetary Donations

Artifact Donations

Buy A Brick Donation

Fundraiser Letter

Notable Links
Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles


Local History Index - Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles

Index to Blatz Brewing Company British Brewery Syndicate Letters




by Michael R. Reilly, Editor, copyright March 18, 2013

Last updated 01/11/2016

    In early February, 2013 I received an email from Sally Bennett in England concerning letters and documents in her possession from an ancestor, Charles, Horsley, who participated in the creation of a British brewery syndicate or trust in the United States. Of particular interest are those letters discussing the purchase of the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company of Milwaukee.

    Most of the available information tells of Blatz being purchased in 1891, but the contents of these letters show negotiations began early in 1889. They also reveal Val Blatz' objections to events leading up to final purchase. While these events only occur in 1889, there must have been a mountain of other documents yet to be discovered, revealing how the purchase finally came about.

    In all documents thus uncovered regarding the May 1891 sale of Blatz, no further mention of Charles Horsley or the London Syndicate appears. It makes me wonder whether the initial agreement, subject to future revision, was ever consummated by Mr. Horsley and the London Syndicate. If not...then perhaps the London Syndicate employed other agents to finish the sale, OR, they dropped out entirely, and a new syndicate rose to the occasion and entered the negotiating process which proved successful?

    Is the following the smoking gun? A later newspaper article states he has settled with the Blatz Brewing co. for an undisclosed sum. It would appear that Charles Horsley and his London Syndicate lost the sales option, and Val Blatz awarded it to Mr. Rice who in turn acted as Blatz' sales agent(?). This is conjecture, but it makes sense.


The Sum of $4OO,OOO Wanted From the Blatz Concern.

CHICAGO, Oct. 10—Suit for $400.000 damages was begun in the United States circuit court this morning by Patrick H. Rice against the Val Blatz Brewing Company of Milwaukee. He alleges that in 1889 he secured an option on the Blatz property at a set price of $3,000,000: that he made a sale to the English syndicate for $3,500,000; that when he sought to complete the purchase with a view to transfer, the Blatz Company declined to sell to him. but sold to the English syndicate for $3.500,000. As Mr. Rice was to have put up $100,000 forfeit he sues for the difference. Source: Oshkosh Daily Northwestern October 10, 1890, page 1

    The suit of Patrick H. Rice, for $400,000 as commission for negotiating the Blatz and Chicago brewery deals has been dismissed by mutual consent. It is understood that Rice, in consideration of dropping the suit, was given a handsome sum.. Source: Milwaukee Weekly Wisconsin, March 21, 1891, page 4


    Other letters found here show some of Sally Bennett's ancestor's, Charles, Horsley, involvement in other business ventures, in particular what appears to be the purchasing of hops in England and Germany.

 Hyperlinks to these letters/documents are found near the bottom of this web page.

Val Blatz Brewery, Milwaukee

    I have a lot of correspondence relating to the Val Blatz Brewery and the ‘English Syndicate’ as a relative of mine was Charles Horsley who was part of the syndicate. Charles Horsley made many trips to the US during the 1880s in relation to the brewery and is in correspondence with Val Blatz and Hiram Faulkner of New York amongst others. Some of the correspondence does appear a little bad tempered and Val Blatz appears to think the English are out to cheat him.
Whilst I do not wish to give up the originals, I would be happy to scan the letters if it would be useful to you.
Sally Bennett, Feb 8, 2013


Val Blatz Correspondence

Dear Mike

    I’m glad you would like copies of the letters and I shall start scanning them in the next few days. I am at present still going though these papers and will send you anything that relates to US breweries. Charles Horsley was dealing at the same time with people in Germany appearing to involve the exchange of stocks and debentures but I assume you won’t be interested in that.

I happy for anything to be put on line if it is of interest to others but will perhaps give you a different email address to use publically.


Sally Feb 8, 2013


Charles Horsley (1848 - 24 March 1921) was a businessman and politician. Born in St Pancras, he held directorships in many companies, including a number of breweries. A resident of Highbury, in 1887 he was appointed a justice of the peace for Middlesex, and in 1889 a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of London. He served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards.

When the first elections to the London County Council were held in January 1889, Horsley was nominated to contest the Islington East Division. He was elected, sitting on the opposition Moderate Party benches. He served a single three-year term, standing down at the 1892 election.

Horsley continued in business until 1916, when ill-health forced his resignation. He retired to Hampstead, where he died in 1921, aged 72.


Hi Michael
    I’ve had a look at the web pages and it is great to see the information out there rather than stuck in a box and hidden away. I noticed you had Charles as being born in London. I’m sure this is incorrect as the whole family lived in the north of England around the Manchester area until later. The census returns give his birth as being in Eccles and he was certainly baptised in Manchester Cathedral, as were his siblings. The Family Bible gives his date of birth as 21 Nov 1848 and although I don’t have his birth certificate, there is an entry in the birth index which supports this.
    I know nothing of any political work and have nothing to suggest any connection with Highbury. The census shows that he was living in Crescent Road South Norwood in both 1881 and 1891. This is south London whilst Highbury is north.
    I don’t know anything about him being a Justice of the Peace or Worshipful Company of makers of playing cards.
George Byng Horsley (Charles’ father) was also a hop merchant by the time of his (GBH) marriage, although the Horsley firm started as fustian manufacturers. The earliest business addresses I have for the A &C Horsley were 93 Corporation Street Manchester and 34 Southwark Street, Borough, London SE. These premises existed prior to 1879. On 1 July 1879 Alex and Chas. Horsley entered into partnership with Stanford Henry Mountain and John Collet, trading under the name of Mountain, Horsleys and Collett. They combined businesses of :
S H Mountain 24 Southwark Street hop merchants
The Cooper Company 24 Southwark Street Bottled ale and stout merchants
The Trafalgar Works Co. Old Kent Road general manufacturers
A&C Horsley 34 Southwark Street hop merchants
Horsley &Co 93 Corporation St Malt agents and merchants
Horsley &Co 93 Corporation St Fustian Manufacturers
John Collett &co 16 Southwark St hop merchants
    The partnership lasted until 1882 and was followed by a new partnership established between the Horsleys and Mountain which was scheduled to last 14 years. I have copies of these partnership agreements.
    In 1893 Chas. and Alex. took a lease on 93/95 Borough High Street from where A & C Horsley traded until it was sold to Wigan Richardson (hop merchants) in the early 1950s after the death of Alexander’s son Percy.
    All the documents in my possession came via my grandmother who was Percy Horsley’s eldest daughter and was involved in the sale of the firm in the 1950s. I have no idea why these documents were kept and can only assume they were put away at some point and forgotten about. In case it is of interest I shall ‘invite’ you to the Horsley family tree on ancestry as it may give you some family background.


1888 A British syndicate under the name New York Breweries Co. is formed through the purchase of H. Claussen & Son Brewing Co. and Flanagan, Nay & Co.
1889 One of the first big brewery mergers takes place. Franz Falk Brewing Co. and Jung and Borchert in Milwaukee merge to form Falk, Jung & Borchert Brewing Co. This brewery was taken over four years later by Pabst.
1889 A British group. known as the London Syndicate, proposes a plan to merge Schlitz, Pabst, and Blatz in Milwaukee. Schlitz and Pabst decline the offer.

May 1, 1889 Blatz sells part of its business to Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries Ltd.

1889 Eighteen St. Louis breweries merge into the English syndicate St. Louis Brewing Association.
1890 Six New Orleans brewers combine to form the New Orleans Brewing Co.
1892 British syndicates start price wars. Prices in Chicago decrease from $6.00 per barrel to $3.50 and $4.00 per barrel.

    Blatz, one of Milwaukee's largest brewers, sold part of the company to a British brewery syndicate, the United State Brewing Company, in 1889 for $2.5 million. Blatz Brewing had existed since 1851 and was a leader in bottling and exporting beer in the 1870s. By 1895 Blatz was the nation's seventh largest brewer and produced over 350,000 barrels. Valentin Blatz, a Bavarian, stayed on as President of the new company, but died in 1894. Both Blatz Brewing and the United States Brewing company survived Prohibition.

    In May 1891, the Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries, Limited, a English conglomerate, merged with the previously formed American owned syndicate or trust, the United States Brewing Company. This merger included the M. Brand Brewing Company; Bartholomae & Leicht Brewing Company, the Ernst Brothers Brewing Company, the Bartholomae & Roesing Brewing and Malting Company, the K. G. Schmidt Brewing Company, and the Val Blatz Brewing Company of Milwaukee. As noted in a prospectus in the Chicago Tribune on March 4, 1891, one belied advantage of combining these breweries was to increase the shipping and distribution efficiency of the Chicago breweries using the Val Blatz Brewing Company's established distribution network. K. G. Schmidt Brewing Company had already dabbled in exporting their "Budweiser" brand to the Western States and Territories with success, but their foresightedness was the exception. After years of neglecting the export market, it took an English syndicate, working through a Milwaukee brewery to develop a serious plan for the exportation of Chicago beer. Later results would prove that, for the most part, this plan was too little, too late.  source: The Syndicates of Chicago by Bob Skilnik,

    British promoters approached American brewers with attractive offers of cash, shares in a new company, and debentures. British promoters visited Frederick Pabst, who owned an important Milwaukee brewery, to try to convince him to merge with Schlitz and with Blatz. Their U. S. representative wrote Pabst of the advantages of such a consolidation, emphasizing the world-wide advertising that would be achieved by bringing "the company out of London."

    In 1888-1891 twenty-four English "syndicates" acquired about eighty American breweries and two malt houses!

    A formidable British-promoted merger (in 1890) was the Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries, Ltd. (capital, 2,271,000 English pounds, listed on Chicago Securities as Ellerman, J. R., 12 Moorgate Street, E. C., London, England), with five Chicago breweries. In 1891, it acquired V. Blatz of Milwaukee, Valentine Blatz became its president. Whereas Blatz sold his firm to the British company, Pabst and Schlitz did not.

Source: The History of Foreign Investment in the United State to 1914, by Mira Wilkins




Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries, Limited

    The United States Brewing Company was organized in Illinois in June 1889, to effect a consolidation of the M. Brand Brewing Company, Bartholomae & Leicht Brewing Company, and Ernst Brothers Brewing company. This was the first important consolidation of Chicago breweries. In May 1891 the United State Brewing Company of Chicago was reorganized as the Milwaukee and Chicago Breweries, Limited to permit of a further consolidation, embracing the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company of Milwaukee, and the K. G. Schmidt and Bartholomae & Roesing breweries of Chicago. This was incidental to the acquiring of the stock of the United States Brewing Company of Chicago by the English Company.

Source: Chicago Securities, Volume 18, pages 292-295,



    During 1892 an auxiliary company known as the United States Security company was organized for the purpose of purchasing saloon sites. The Ernst Brothers Brewery was also among the original properties included in the purchase by the English company, but that brewery was closed during the year 1900, its trade amalgamated with that of the Schmidt Brewery.

    In 1908 : Directors (London and Chicago Contract Corporation, Limited) - Sir John Ellerman, Bart. Charles, Eves, John Akenhead, Reginald Parker.

Officers: chairman, Sir John Ellerman; Secretary, Daniel Willink.

    American Company: Immediate management of the company's breweries is in the hands of The United States Brewing company, of Chicago, an Illinois corporation, organized in 1889. Directors, Rudolf Brand, John J. Mitchell, F. S. Winston, John Kremer, Edward Landsberg, James Miles, Garrard B. Winston; President, Treasurer, and General Manager, Rudolf Brand; First Vice-President, John Kremer; Second Vice-President, Edward Landsberg; Secretary, James Miles

The Charles Horsley / Valentin Blatz Letters / Correspondence

Typewritten agreement May 1, 1889 with accounting notes of Blatz sale to Horsley's business interests. Detailed descriptions of Blatz holdings and inventories.

Blatz Correspondence - What is contained on this page is mainly correspondence between Charles Horsley, Valentin Blatz, Hiram D. Faulkner, and

Charles Horsley Correspondence - What is contained on this page is mainly correspondence between Charles Horsley and different business partners (mainly German or their agents), such as, Sigmund Le Vino, a Mr. Duncan, Sigmund Seckendorf (S. S. & Co.), Messel & Co., the Nuremburg group, etc. Nothing to do with Val Blatz.

Last Will & Testament of  Valentin Blatz -Transcript of Valentin Blatz’ Will, Register of Probate, File 10517, also obit(s).

Newspaper accounts of Blatz and syndicate / trust news and Blatz Brewing Company Chronology



Home / About Us  / Membership / Search this site

Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)