Friday, January 30, 2009

Golden Grains, Harvested at Central

On Wednesday, January 28th, an enthusiastic group of history, brewing and winemaking buffs (not to mention an archaeologist and a brewmaster) got together for a presentation on alcohol production in pre-Civil War Sacramento. Librarian, James Scott, gave the talk.

Content ranged anywhere from the general pre-1861 Nisenan and Miwok experience with alcohol to the introduction of the cool, German-style lager beer to Sacramento's hot, dry summers.

Also discussed was the galvanizing influence that alcohol production could have on community building, especially when it came to George Weiser and George Zins. Zins was a Frenchman, coming from Alsace-Lorraine, while Weiser was a German, coming from Baden-Wurttemberg. These regions bordered one another, and Zins' home region had changed hands several times between the Holy Roman Empire (pre-Germany) and France. Certainly, there was plenty reason for hostility to exist between the two, but not enough for them to not go into business with one-another. What this illustrates is the clearly universal appeal and draw of drink-making:  it could bring culture groups together, even to the point of joint capital venture, where trust was an indispensable. It also meant that a singly momentous event like the Gold Rush could attract some of the finest artisan brewmasters in the world to the shores of the Sacramento River. Their brewery was one of the first in the city's history.

Thanks go out to those who came down to the presentation. Questions were great and interjection invaluable.

Anyone who's interested in acquiring a the PowerPoint version of the presentation can send an e-mail to the Sacramento Public Library's Correspondence Team at

In case you missed the talk, watch this video for a 'sampling' of what we talked about:

1 comment:

annot8 said...

Enjoyed the video! You have a talent for narration, and it makes the different characters live. Good work!