Rededication Ceremony Set for Friday, June 8th
HARRISBURG, PA – After more than two years of committed work, the Brewers of Pennsylvania, the state’s official brewers guild, announces today that the Frederick Lauer Monument in Reading’s City Park has been restored. Lauer, the first national president of the U.S. Brewers Association (BA) is considered to be one of the early driving forces in establishing what would eventually become modern day brewing.
To commemorate the brewing pioneer’s trailblazing leadership and dedication to the local community, the BA constructed a monument in his honor in 1885 and gifted it to the City of Reading. It was the city’s very first statue. In early 2015, the monument was vandalized, and four bronze plaques were removed from its base. In 2016, the BA, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, donated $25,000 to Reading to restore the statue and the Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP) collected donations from local breweries for repair work. In 2018, the BOP also donated $3,000 to the restoration project. The final round of fundraising came in the spring of 2018 when members of the Berks Brewers Guild produced a collaboration brew, Lauer’s Fellowship Ale. For each pint sold, participating breweries donated $3.50 to complete the restoration. The group raised over $5,000.
To celebrate the completion of the project, members of the Berks Brewers Guild, including BOP members Broken Chair Brewing Company (West Reading), Chatty Monks (West Reading), Oakbrook Brewing Company (Reading), Saucony Creek Brewing Company (Kutztown) as well as Schaylor Brewing Company (Shillington) will be hosting a free rededication ceremony of the monument on Friday, June 8th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the monument in Reading’s City Park (Washington Street & N 11th Street).
The event will include a Lauer’s Fellowship Ale toast for those 21 and over, and a rereading of the speeches from the original monument dedication in 1885. The historic Ringgold Band, formed in 1852 and proud to be one of America’s first community bands, will provide entertainment. The Ringgold Band played at the original dedication in 1885.
“As the state’s official brewers guild, the BOP felt it was our duty to do our part in helping restore the monument honoring Frederick Lauer, a local and national icon whose dedication to the craft of brewing beer helped pave the way for so many of our members as well as those beyond our Association from coast to coast,” said Chris Lampe, President of the Brewers of Pennsylvania and Co-owner and Production Manager at Weyerbacher. “Those who understand the craft beer industry know we all stick together, and we consider it a privilege to have teamed up with the Brewers Association and the Berks Brewers Guild in restoring this important piece of history.”
The first phase of the restoration project was completed in 2016, and involved replacement of the stolen bronze plaques and preservation work to the statue. This second phase focused on releveling the stone post and pier base, which had settled unevenly over the years, as well as replacement of the soil at the base, improvement in the drainage inside the base, and replanting the area with Sweet Woodruff, which will eventually spread and provide an attractive and low-maintenance groundcover. In addition, decorative stone was set in place to beautify what had previously been unattractive exposed stone aggregate beneath the statue.
Born in Germany in 1810, Lauer immigrated to the United States at age 12. He learned the brewing process at an early age from his father. By age 16, he was foreman for his family’s brewery, and at 25, he became the brewery’s proprietor. For decades to follow, through innovation, hard work and business savvy, Lauer established himself as a brewing pioneer not only locally, but throughout the country.
Lauer’s commitment to pioneering the brewing industry was matched by his devotion to Reading. As noted by the Berks History Center, Lauer was a key figure in changing Reading from the status of a borough to a city in 1847. He helped to organize the Berks County Agricultural Society and the Board of Trade. Lauer also helped finance the Reading and Columbia Railroad, and he was a member of several charity groups, including the Reading Dispensary, Reading Relief Society and Reading Benevolent Society. His dedication to civic involvement led him to donate part of his seven-acre lot so that it could made into a park for community recreation.