Storz Brewing Co. announced plans today to open a new restaurant this fall at the former Rick's Cafe Boatyard. The brewery, and the family that founded it, have a long history with Omaha. Here are a few things you might not have known.
Source: World-Herald archives
1. At its peak
The Storz brewery near 15th and Grace Streets once produced 43 million gallons of beer a year. In 1960, Storz produced half of all beer sold in Omaha and one-third of all beer sold in Nebraska.
2. Fred Astaire's father, Fritz Austerlitz, was a beer salesman for Storz Brewing Co.
3. Top 40 radio pioneer
Omahan Todd Storz, grandson of Storz founder Gottlieb Storz, is generally credited with pioneering the Top 40 radio format in the early 1950s. The concept of mixing hit records with DJ patter was a significant departure from the “block” programming style of the 1940s.
4. Storz Mansion
Gottlieb Storz, the German immigrant who founded Storz Brewing Co. in Omaha, commissioned Omaha architects Fisher and Lawrie to build a mansion at 3708 Farnam St. Its 27 rooms, carriage house and basement made it Omaha's showpiece “Gold Coast” home, the scene of opulent parties. Guests included Jimmy Stewart, pilots Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle and entertainer Arthur Godfrey.
Arthur C. Storz Jr.
5. Go Big Red memorabilia
In the 1960s, Arthur C. Storz Jr., grandson of Gottlieb Storz, developed Go Big Red stadium seat cushions and rain ponchos, both bearing the Storz company logo. They became popular among fans and stimulated creation of more Big Red memorabilia.
6. The B-17 stunt
Art Storz Jr., who called himself the black sheep of the family, in his youth pulled off one of Omaha's legendary stunts. During World War II, he was a test pilot. One day, in a B-17, he repeatedly buzzed past the old Blackstone Hotel near Storz Mansion and scared a whole lot of people. The stunt got him court-martialed.