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Review: Beer Money

June 21, 2016

Beer Money

After he immigrated to America, German born Bernhard Stroh started a brewery in his new home of Detroit, Michigan.  Stroh’s Brewery survived the Depression by selling malt syrup and ice cream and was allowed to brew “near beer” during Prohibition so it was in a great position when Prohibition was repealed.  At one time, Stoh’s was the third largest brewery in the United States but the family’s mismanagement and poor decisions eventually resulted in its decline.

Frances Stroh was born into this wealthy but somewhat dysfunctional family.  She remembers extravagant shopping trips and a home filled with lavish collections.  There wasn’t a lot of harmony there, though; her brother was busted for drugs and her parents eventually divorced.  Stroh shares what it was like to grow up in this powerful yet flawed family in her memoir Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss.

I liked Beer Money a great deal but I can’t say that I loved it.  I found the Stroh family fascinating.  They’d grown up with wealth and power but little foresight or business sense and I was dumbfounded by some of their decisions.  I think most of them thought the money would never run out so they weren’t too worried about it.  Stroh said,

I realized that the Stroh trusts – – psychologically certainly – – had always, in truth, served as something of a safety net for me.

Frances pursued an art career and I didn’t enjoy the parts of the book about her education and art installations as much as the parts about her family and their business, although the two parts did overlap at times.  I wanted more of her childhood and less of her adulthood.  Overall, though, I really enjoyed this glimpse into the life of the Strohs.

The audio version of Beer Money is narrated by Erin Bennett and I thought she did a pretty good job bringing it to life.

I am an Indiebound Affliate.


14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2016 5:37 am

    Sounds interesting. I love reading about the alcohol industry, for some bizarre reason.

  2. June 21, 2016 8:06 am

    I think I’d like to hear more about her earlier life than recent life.

  3. Patty permalink
    June 21, 2016 8:09 am


  4. June 21, 2016 9:28 am

    Sounds somewhat interesting. But maybe I’ll get the Cliffsnotes!

  5. June 21, 2016 9:37 am

    Sounds interesting, but not sure I would rush out and get a copy. Maybe one day. 🙂

  6. June 21, 2016 10:13 am

    Prohibition Era is rather an interesting time period in history to study. I can see why you would rather have more about her childhood. We know it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, but when you read some of the memoirs of the rich and famous then you really know it’s true.

  7. June 21, 2016 10:45 am

    I think I would have been more drawn to the family and business parts, too.

  8. June 21, 2016 10:47 am

    Interesting sounding memoir, Kathy. I enjoyed your review.

  9. June 21, 2016 10:54 am

    It sounds interesting, I haven’t thought about Stroh beer in a long time.

  10. June 21, 2016 11:38 am

    Sounds like a possibility….and lately I’ve read books and seen movies set during the Prohibition years, and I’m thinking that the “forbidden” had an appeal…but I’m very happy that we are Post-Prohibition…lol.

  11. June 21, 2016 4:48 pm

    Sounds interesting, although I am not sure it’s for me.

  12. June 21, 2016 11:40 pm

    The rags to riches story in reverse sounds interesting. Commonplace though!

  13. bookingmama permalink
    June 22, 2016 9:41 am

    I think I’d probably agree with your assessment. I would be more interested in the family and business parts rather than the art/education ones.

  14. June 22, 2016 10:34 am

    This sounds very interesting, but I like the arts stuff.

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