Untold Detroit: Beer | Episode 3



Prohibition is in full swing – the brewing industry is illegal. But, Detroit beer can't be stopped by Prohibition. How did the breweries survive, and how did Detroiters get their precious beer? Listen to Joel Stone, Detroit Historical Society Senior Curator, John Stroh, local beer historian Stephen Johnson, and Detroit historian Tom Klug share how Detroit beer survived Prohibition.   

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Featured in this Episode: 

Joel Stone

Joel Stone is senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society, which oversees the Detroit Historical Museum, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and a quarter million artifacts in the City of Detroit’s collection. Raised in the Detroit area, his research has focused on North American frontier, contemporary urban, and freshwater maritime cultures. Stone has degrees and certification in communications, history, archaeology and archival management. He supports numerous professional organizations, and is president of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History. His most recent books include “Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes” (University of Michigan Press), “Detroit1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies,” (Wayne State University Press), and “Interpreting Maritime History in Museums and Historic Sites” for the American Association for State and Local History (Rowman & Littlefield Publ.).


Stephen Johnson

Steve Johnson is the founder and owner of Motor City Brew Tours, a Berkley-based company that guides beer enthusiasts through downtown and metro Detroit breweries, cideries and meaderies. Since 2009, he has taken over 25,000 people on tours. He is also the author of Detroit Beer: A History of Brewing in the Motor City. Steve hosts the Beer Tour Guy podcast and frequently speaks around the downtown and metro Detroit about the history of Detroit beer. Steve is also a avid collector of Michigan beer memorabilia including over 200 beer tap handles! 


Tom Klug 

Thomas Klug earned his Ph.D. in history at Wayne State University and taught for three decades at Marygrove College.  He has researched and published about matters relating to the history of Detroit, including the conflicts between employers and trade unions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the enforcement of US immigration laws along the US-Canada border from the 1880s to the 1940s; and post-1945 deindustrialization.  Klug has appeared in documentaries or podcasts about the Black Legion, the 1943 Detroit race riot, and the 1930 assassination of radio commentator Jerry Buckley. He serves as editor of the Great Lakes Series of Wayne State University Press.   





John Stroh

John W. Stroh, III has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Stroh Companies, Inc. since May of 1999. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Stroh Companies, Inc. and its subsidiary SBC Holdings, Inc. (the former The Stroh Brewery Company) since 1989. The Stroh Companies owns the office building known as 300 River Place in Detroit along with other operating and financial investments. 



Things We Mentioned

Beer Tour Guy Podcast

Michigan Brewers Guild

Detroit Bibliography


Additional Resources

Rumrunning and the Roaring Twenties: Prohibition on the Michigan-Ontario Waterways, by Phillip Mason

The Violent Years: Prohibition and the Detroit Mobs, by Paul Kavieff

Brewed in Detroit: Breweries and Beer Since 1830, by Peter Blum *Shop online here. 

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent

The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, by Lisa McGirr

Detroit Beer: A History of Brewing in the Motor City, by Steve Johnson *Shop online here.