“Since the late 19th century, beer trays featuring company advertisements have been produced for both home and public use.” From Antique Beer Trays, Collectors Weekly website
This metal advertising tray puts us in touch with the story of one of Saginaw’s once thriving breweries. Located on the northwest corner of East Genesee Avenue and Walnut Street, Peter Raquet’s Brewery was a compact, efficient brewery covering several city lots. Originally constructed for Peter Raquet in 1885, the business was taken over by his three sons-in-law after his death in 1890. Renamed National Brewing Company, their products were marketed in Saginaw and within a radius of 150 miles.
William F. Weber, a son-in-law of Peter Raquet was extensively quoted in an 1897 newspaper article:
“ ‘The drinking of lager beer’ said Mr. Weber, ‘should be encouraged by the government it is in the power of all to secure it by reason of its low price, and its cheapness assists in making it such a great moral agent. Lager beer after a short acquaintance becomes an associate, nourishing and sustaining to the purchaser. It possesses so little alcohol and such health-giving power, that it can defy competition. Beer has been introduced by the most conservative families into their houses as a temperance drink. In my opinion, the phenomenal increase in the sale of malt liquors the past thirty years is the most powerful argument for beer as a popular and healthful beverage.’ ”
The Saginaw Evening News, December 9, 1897
To see the tray and learn more about the history of the National Brewing Company, visit the Castle Museum in September. (Of course, National Brewing Company’s history is a perfect introduction to our special exhibit Spirited.)