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|I'M FROM OSHKOSH AND I OUGHT TO KNOW PEOPLE BEER HITS THE SPOT
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The Peoples Brewing Company was founded in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1911 when Oshkosh residents, led by Joseph J. Nigl, came together to form a new business to compete with other breweries. The Peoples Brewing Company made history when it became the first brewery in the country to be owned by an African American, an event that ruffled a few feathers in Oshkosh. In 1970, the brewery was bought by Theodore Mack, a Black Milwaukeean who would make history. It had been Mack’s ambition to keep the brewery operating in Oshkosh, but to also tap into the markets in Milwaukee and Gary, Indiana. He had also hoped to score a contract with the U.S. Military to supply beer to bases. Mack received a fair amount of resistance from the residents in the Oshkosh area. The media penned him as the “Milwaukee Negro” who came to fire whites and hire only black workers. Although Mack faced opposition, there were those who appreciated his efforts to keep the brewery running.