State Fair Beer

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State Fair Beer

This summer, as people across the country hop aboard Ferris Wheels and snack on popcorn and cotton candy at the state fair, we thought it fitting to bring you this vintage beer label.

State Fair beer was brewed in Shamokin, PA by Fuhrman & Schmidt Brewing Company which operated until 1966. Ironically, the Keystone State is one of only a few states in the union that does not actually have a state fair! The brewmaster surely was playing a joke on the state residents when he came up with this name.

P.H. Fuhrman and Max Schmidt joined forces in 1895 to form F&S Brewing, purchasing the operation on Brewery Curve from Eagle Run Brewing. After repeal in 1933, F&S was one of 766 known breweries operating in the US. Slowly, many were eaten up by larger scale operations, but Fuhrman & Schmidt stayed alive longer than many of its rivals.

Producing an average of 100,000 barrels per year, the brewery satisfied the thirst of many Pennsylvania residents. In fact, the year it was sold to Henry F. Ortlieb Brewing Company, F&S hit record production of 160,000 barrels.

Ortlieb then sold the brewery in 1973, and it went into voluntary bankruptcy a year later.  Local businessmen and former employees of the brewery made a valiant effort to revitalize it and re-establish the brewery, but just when it was to be reopened, a fire in November 1975 destroyed the entire plant and all of its workings, leaving little behind as memorabilia and artifacts to this once prominent piece of Pennsylvania history.