LOGAN ̶̶ While Utah is not best known for its beer culture, the state has a remarkably rich brewing history. That is one lesson of Utah Brews: The Untapped History of Ogden’s Becker Brewing and Malting Company, an exhibit by Utah State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Division.
John S. Becker and his two sons, Gustav L. Becker and Albert E. Becker, established the Becker Brewing and Malting Company along the banks of the Ogden River in 1892. The brewery operated through feast and famine, weathering two world wars and even Prohibition before the costs of production and competition from larger breweries forced the Beckers to shut the doors in 1964. This 72-year run gave the Becker Brewing and Malting Company the distinction of being Utah’s longest continuously operating brewery and made the Beckers one of Odgen’s most esteemed families.
Utah Brews highlights this relatively unexplored chapter of Utah’s history through selections from the Becker Brewing and Malting Company records and the Gustav Lorenz Becker photograph collection, both housed in USU’s Special Collections and Archives. The public is welcome to visit Special Collections and view these collections Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with late hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Special Collections is also open on selected Saturdays.
The USU University Library’s exhibition, located in the atrium of the Merrill-Cazier Library, is free and open to the public. The exhibit goes up on Jan. 27 and will be on display throughMarch 24. A companion digital exhibit can be viewed at: exhibits.usu.edu/exhibits/show/beckerbrewing (note that link does not go live until Jan. 27).
An official opening will be held in the Merrill-Cazier Library on Feb. 9 beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a reception of light refreshments. At 5:30 Del Vance, author of Beer in the Beehive: A History of Brewing in Utah and owner of Salt Lake City’s Beerhive Pub, will give a lecture in the New Books Lounge located on the Merrill-Cazier Library’s second floor.
The exhibit and official opening are made possible by generous contributions from Karen Becker Edson and the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation. Mrs. Edson’s support also provided Cody Patton, undergraduate history major and Student Manuscript Assistant, with the opportunity to gain valuable experience by researching, writing and selecting much of the material for the display.
For more information, contact Clint Pumphrey, manuscript curator, 435-797-0891.