A Short History of Siebel Chicago’s Beer School

The 143-year-old Siebel Institute of Technology has educated some of the Midwest’s top beer makers

Think “forefathers of American brewing,” and names like Busch and Stroh come to mind. But equally notable is John Siebel, the founder of Chicago’s own Siebel Institute of Technology, a 143-year-old leader in brewing research and education that has taught both of the above dynasties a thing or two about beer. Here are a few highlights from the school’s long history.
 

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 John Ewald Siebel
1868
The German chemist John Ewald Siebel founds the Zymotechnic Institute, the first U.S. facility dedicated to beer research, on Wells Street in the Loop.
 
1900
The renamed Siebel Institute of Technology on Belden Avenue graduates its first class of diploma recipients.
 
1901
Siebel offers its first course in English. Up to this point, all instruction had been in German.
 
1919
The 18th Amendment is ratified, paving the way for Prohibition. Siebel converts to a baking school.
 
1933
With Prohibition’s repeal, the school returns to brewing instruction and research.
 
1952
Siebel moves to a new facility on Peterson Avenue.
 John W. Stroh, Jr.
1959
John W. Stroh Jr. graduates.
August A. Busch III
1961
August A. Busch III graduates.
 
1977
Deborah S. Simpson becomes the first woman to receive a Siebel diploma.
 
1989
Greg Hall, former Goose Island brewmaster, graduates.
 
2000–1
The Siebel family sells the institute to Lallemand, a Canadian yeast manufacturer; the research labs relocate to Montreal and San Diego. The school remains in Chicago but partners with Doemens Academy in Munich, allowing students to study abroad.
 
2003
Classes shift to the Goose Island Brewpub on Clybourn Avenue.
 Siebel in Lincoln Park
2008
Siebel moves down the block to its current home in Lincoln Park.

 

Photography: Courtesy of Siebel Institute

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