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Farewell to Suds--Foggy Bottom Bottoms Out

For folks coming to the blog from my piece in today's Business section, here's a quick link to our earlier discussion of Olde Heurich's departure from the Washington beer scene. Join the conversation on the comment boards after this blog item.

By Marc Fisher |  March 3, 2006; 9:42 PM ET
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Hello Mr. Fisher:

I thoroughly enjoyed your article today about the Heurich Company--as a second generation D.C.native--my father and I were born and raised in the District, I was saddened by the loss of this brewery. I am particularly interested in this company because my late father, Harold S. Harwood, and Gary Heurich's father, were apparently good friends. I would like to be in touch with Gary Heurich, but he has an unlisted phone number. Please feel free to forward this email to Gary Heurich.

My English-born grandfather, John Henry Harwood, founded the Harwood Construction Company in D.C., and my father was the company president until his death in 1955. As a young man, my father apparently played in the old D.C. Industrial League sandlot baseball teams near the Tidal Basin. One of the teams he played on was a team sponsored by the Heurich Brewery Company. There is also the possibility, according to accounts by my mother, that Gary Heurich's father had an apartment in the Dorchester Apartments on 16th Street across from Meridian Hill Park, and that Mr. Heurich then passed the apartment, a rental, on to my father when he was single. After he married my mother, this Dorchester apartment, #406, became my only home for the first 12 years of my life.

I am sorry that I was never able to go to the D.C. Historical Society Museum when it was housed in the Heurich mansion. In fact, I would be delighted to visit the inside of the mansion, but I do not know if this is a possibility.

Also, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Heurich, I would be very interested in doing some historical research about both the Heurich Company and my father's and grandfather's business, the Harwood Construction Company. Would either of you have any advice on how to go about doing this?

Mr. Heurich--all the best for your new life as an inn master on Lake Champlain. My wife and I would love to spend some vacation time there someday--would you please send us information about it?

Jeff and Debi Harwood
3528 Hamlet Place
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
301-656-4707
dme706@aol.com

Posted by: Jeff Harwood | March 4, 2006 9:33 PM

What a great story--and yes, you can definitely tour the Brewmaster's Castle. The foundation that runs the house is offering tours several times a week now; for a schedule, go to brewmasterscastle.org

But you can certainly do better--give Gary Heurich a call at the castle and I'd bet lunch he'll be thrilled to give you a private tour.

Posted by: Fisher | March 5, 2006 9:03 AM

I was saddened to read of the closing of the Olde Heurich brewing tradition. That said, the owner's grumbling that D.C. should have been more supportive of his beer (Old Foggy Bottom) struck me as a bit obnoxious. He failed to see a simple point: the beers he was brewing weren't very good. I tried them all and came away quite disappointed. Nobody I know thinks much of them. The great success of another Capitol City shoots down the notion that DC residents won't purchase hometown beers.

Cordially,

Kevin Kosar
http://www.alcoholreviews.com

Posted by: Kevin Kosar | March 5, 2006 4:07 PM

Is Gary Heurich a world-class, rich-kid whiner or does he just play the part of one in your columns? Has he considered moving to Bermuda with that other one, Jack Kent Cooke's son?

First, he thought that Washington owed him payments on the mortgage for his Grandfather's house, so that he could keep it in his family. This is a house which he would only open to the public two hours a week, and even then he has done a terrible job of marketing it. (I understand he's actually expanded the visiting hours now that he's looking for more money.)

Now, he wants us to feel sorry that we can't buy a beer, brewed in New York, with his name on the label. I've bought the beer, and I liked it okay, but once again what's he done to market his product? With all the successful microbreweries, the problem is not that people won't support hometown beer (brewed in New York?) but that he doesn't seem to know how to sell it.

Look, the Heurich name on beer was in hibernation for years and years before Gary brought it back. Maybe it can rest for a few more years and one of his children can bring it back, more successfully next time. But I can't see much loss if it goes back to sleep for a while.

Posted by: Kalorama Kat | March 7, 2006 4:18 PM

I gather even Guinness has to advertise in Ireland. Nobody owes a beer loyalty just because it has the name of a metro station on the label.

Posted by: h3 | March 9, 2006 4:35 PM

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