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
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
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
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.
BREWING COMPANY SUED.
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
Charles Horsley (1848 - 24 March 1921) was a businessman and
politician. Born in
he held directorships in many companies, including a number of breweries. A
Highbury, in 1887 he was appointed a justice of the peace for
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
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
where he died in 1921, aged 72.
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
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
The Trafalgar Works Co. Old Kent Road general
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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||Eighteen St. Louis breweries merge into the English
syndicate St. Louis Brewing Association.
||Six New Orleans brewers combine to form the New
Orleans Brewing Co.
||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
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
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
The Charles Horsley / Valentin Blatz Letters /
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).
accounts of Blatz and syndicate / trust news and
Blatz Brewing Company Chronology