Quincy News

New book chronicles Dick Brothers Brewery history

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 17, 2019 12:01 am
Robert H. Dick

QUINCY -- The author of a new book detailing the history of the famed Dick Brothers Brewery, which at one time was larger than Anheuser-Busch's brewery in St. Louis, will be giving a reading and book signing next week in Quincy.

Robert H. Dick's reading from his book, "Beer Baron: August Redmond Dick and the Dick Brothers Brewery," will be at 2 p.m. June 23 at the Quincy Historical Society's Museum on the Square, 332 Maine St. The reading is free and open to the public. Dick said he is donating all proceeds from the sale of the book to the local historical society.

The 72-page book was released earlier this year by Monograph Publishing. The book chronicles Dick's journey of learning about the brewery and its prominent chief executive officer from Quincy historian the late Carl Landrum and childhood contemporaries of August Dick.

"This all came about pretty much about the time I was appointed the legal guardian of my great-aunts, Helen and Dorothy Dick, back in the '90s," said Dick, who is not a native of Quincy.

Upon the suggestion of his aunts, Dick reached out to Landrum.

Dick said those meetings with Landrum fueled his passion to learn more. Over the next several years, Dick said he continued to learn more.

"As a historian, when you get a on a trail like this, you have to see it through," said Dick, who holds degrees in history from Missouri State University.

He also is an artist and sculptor. "Beer Baron" is his seventh published book.

According to Dick, August Dick was a playboy, living the bachelor lifestyle in his home on Kentucky Street. In the multi-story home, August Dick reportedly hosted numerous parties, which Robert Dick describes in his book as "reflecting a world of wealth and power and all that came with it."

August Dick demonstrated a brilliant mind, according to Robert Dick.

"I really concluded that this man was at the dawn of corporate America, and August Dick was an extraordinaire corporate executive, who was extremely bright and curious," Dick said. "He was one very likely one of America's earliest marketing and advertising geniuses. He had a real flare for advertising."

The pages of Dick's book detail how the brewery, owned by second generation German American immigrants, combatted the rise of anti-German sentiments during World War I and World War II by using advertising to promote the brewery's connection to the United States.

"I think this beyond speculation that August Dick was very much in tune with what was happening in both Europe and in America," Dick said.

As noted in the pages of "Beer Baron," the prowess of August Dick was lessened following his stroke in 1939. It eventually led to Dick's death in 1943. Upon his death, Dick cemented his legacy in Quincy by donating $2,000 to a local hospital, Quincy College and two local orphan societies. When adjusted for inflation, Dick's financial support is the equivalent of $29,600.

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