Two Dollars And A Dream

Although I stand about as much chance of winning the
Powerball lottery as Obama has of being appointed
Director of the National Rifle Association, I, like untold
millions of other Americans, bought a ticket for the
largest jackpot in US history, currently at one and a half
BILLION dollars. After all, “ya gotta be in it to win it”.

Part of the media frenzy surrounding the upcoming
drawing are the “man in the street” interviews, with
hopeful contestants detailing what they’ll do with their
winnings. Nearly all say “I’ll quit my job”, move, buy a
new car, or take a long exotic vacation. Tahiti is a
popular destination. Other, more serious minded folk
say they’ll fund their children’s or grandchildren’s
educations, which is kind of a waste when, with that
kind of money they could simply buy the college and
give the kids a free ride. Still other, more charitable,
people talk of starting foundations, erecting hospitals or
buying their way into heaven by donating to their
church. All these are excellent goals, demonstrating for
the most part that Americans are basically a good,
caring people. But they’re not really imaginative, since
999 out of a 1000 people will offer these same answers
when asked what they’ll do with the money.

Mulling this over, I wondered how a serious beer fan
would deal with such unexpected largesse. A billion and
a half dollars is a lot of money. One could buy any
regional or craft brewery he wanted, change the name
to his own, and spend the rest of his days happily
drinking his own beer, served to him by the scores of
servants he could now employ. Nice, but not too

A billion and a half dollars would also allow one to
purchase 42, 857, 143 cases of craft beer, but again,
not too imaginative and generating not only a need for
storage (a 100,000 square foot warehouse might not
be enough), but also the problem of how to drink it all
before the shelf life expired. But it would be a great
challenge to try.

300,000,000 pints of Gaslight beer could be purchased
for a billion and a half. I am partial to Gaslight beer, so
this would be a nice option for me, but since I self
impose a limit of three pints per visit, it would take a
million days or over 273 years before I used up the
dough. At 67, I’m sure I don’t have the time left.

I began to think harder about what a true beer lover
could do with a billion and a half, not only to spend the
money and slake his thirst, but also to leave a lasting
legacy for future beer fans to enjoy for years, and came
up with an imaginative, PERFECT plan.

At the corner of Court Street and MLK Boulevard in
Newark stands the Krueger-Scott mansion, erected in
1888 by Newark beer baron and eventual New Jersey
legislator, Gottfried Krueger. Later the home was sold
to a Masonic temple, which added a 700 seat auditorium
and still later, in 1958, to Louise Scott, who operated a
beauty school in it until her death in 1982. Since then it
has been owned by the City of Newark and, like almost
everything else the government gets it’s hands on, has
fallen into disrepair.

My dream is to buy the mansion, restore it, and turn it
into a museum of New Jersey brewing history, where for
a nominal fee, beer lovers and history buffs would be
able to learn about the great history of brewing in the
Garden State. What if Newark doesn’t want to sell?
With a billion and a half I’ll make ‘em an offer they can’t

The guided tours of each exhibit would end, not in some
insipid “gift shop” where people could waste their money
on keychains, bookmarks and the like, but rather in a
beautifully landscaped beer garden at the rear, complete
with a covered pavilion for days when the weather is not
cooperating. The centerpiece of the garden would be the
refurbished “big bottle” which stood over the Hoffman
and, later, Pabst breweries on South Orange Avenue
and Grove Street in Newark. Some reports have it laying
in a scrap yard in Newark, but Dave Hoffman of Roselle
Park’s Climax Brewery attests that it is stored in Toms
River. Wherever it is, or even if it isn’t, with a billion and
a half dollars it shouldn’t be too hard to replace.

Another feature of the garden is that, with one
exception (and that exception being merely temporary),
only beers brewed in New Jersey would be offered, on a
rotating, monthly basis. Flying Fish in January, Gaslight  
in February, for example. The lone exception would be
Pabst, whose Ballantine products, XXX Ale, IPA and
Burton Ale, would be sold as well. Temporary because
with a billion and a half it would be easy to buy the
Ballantine trademark, open a brewery in Newark under
that name, and return the great Ballantine to it’s rightful

The Smithsonian Institute would be contacted about
contributing to the museum. They own the statue of
King Gambrinus, God of brewing, which stood above the
doors of the Krueger brewery on Belmont Avenue in
Newark, until it closed in 1960. Either their historian’s
desire to return the relic to where it belongs, or the
inducement of a piece of the billion and a half would
ensure that King Gambrinus would cheerfully greet
visitors to the museum from his perch above the main

Although I most likely won’t win, the two bucks bought
me a nice dream, and thousands of beer lovers,
acknowledging that they also can’t win, and wishing to
see the museum and beer garden, might end up rooting
for me!



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