Brewers to rededicate restored Frederick Lauer monument

Ceremony set for 6-8 p.m. Friday in City Park

READING, Pa. - Berks County's beer brewers are set to raise a glass to celebrate the restoration of a monument dedicated to an industry pioneer.

A three-year effort to restore the Frederick Lauer statue in Reading City Park is finished, according to Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP).

"As the state's official brewers guild, the BOP felt it was our duty to do our part in helping restore the monument honoring Frederick Lauer, a local and national icon whose dedication to the craft of brewing beer helped pave the way for so many of our members as well as those beyond our association from coast to coast," said Chris Lampe, president of the Brewers of Pennsylvania and co-owner and production manager at Weyerbacher.

The Germany-born Lauer, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 and eventually came to own his family's brewery, served as the first national president of the U.S. Brewers Association, which constructed the monument in his honor in 1885.

The effort to restore it began in 2015, after the monument was vandalized, and four bronze plaques were removed from its base.

In 2016, the U.S. Brewers Association donated $25,000 toward the project, and the Brewers of Pennsylvania collected donations from local breweries for the repairs. Earlier this year, the BOP also donated $3,000, and local breweries -- Broken Chair Brewery, Chatty Monks Brewing Company, Oakbrook Brewing Company, Saucony Creek Brewing Company, and Schaylor Brewing Company -- finished out the fundraising by donating $3.50 from the sale of each pint of a collaboration beer, dubbed Lauer's Fellowship Ale.

"Those who understand the craft beer industry know we all stick together," Lampe said, "and we consider it a privilege to have teamed up with the Brewers Association and the Berks Brewers Guild in restoring this important piece of history."

The first phase of the project, completed in 2016, involved replacing the stolen plaques; the second phase this year focused on re-leveling the stone post and pier base, which had settled unevenly over the years.

To celebrate the finished work, members of the Berks Brewers Guild are inviting the public to attend a rededication ceremony at the monument on Friday, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The event will include a Lauer's Fellowship Ale toast for those 21 and over, and a rereading of the speeches delivered during the original dedication ceremony in 1885. The Ringgold Band, which played then, will perform again.

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