The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
Turmoil in the banking industry isn’t the only crisis to hit Cyprus in the past few years. There was also a major flap involving the KEO Brewery, whose largest shareholder is the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. According to Agence France Presse, a bottle of KEO beer was prominently featured in a movie that included scenes shot in a Greek tavern in New York. While most businesses would appreciate product placement of this sort, the Cypriot Orthodox clergy were not amused by the highly pornographic nature of the movie in question. Anticipating the inevitable questions from alert readers (ARs) whose inquiring minds want to know, I do not know the name of the movie or the Greek tavern where these scenes were filmed.
As far as I know, there has never been a product placement of Schlafly Beer in a movie with any rating, from G to NC-17 to XXX. Our brewery did, however, have a cameo role in the 1981 science fiction action film Escape from New York. Strictly speaking, the brewery itself didn’t appear in the movie, but rather the building that later became The Schlafly Tap Room. ARs will recall that the plot involves an apocalyptic future when Manhattan Island has been converted into a maximum security prison. For reasons I never quite understood, John Carpenter, who co-wrote and directed the movie, decided to shoot most of it in St. Louis. Perhaps the neighborhood around 21st and Locust Streets was more desolate than anything he could find in New York City at the time.
Over the years St. Louis has done a lot more for New York than merely serving as a cinematic stand-in. Back in the 19th century St. Louis provided some of the expertise needed to construct the Brooklyn Bridge. I am not making this up. When James Eads was building his eponymously named bridge across the Mississippi he developed caissons to protect the workers under water. While giving a tour of the project to Washington Roebling, the engineer who later built the Brooklyn Bridge, Eads proudly showed him the caissons he had designed. Roebling proceeded to copy this design for caissons used in constructing the Brooklyn Bridge, at least according to a lawsuit that Eads filed against him.
Throughout much of the 20th century millions of New Yorkers depended on St. Louis to go to and from their jobs, homes, schools, shopping etc. How so? Many of the cars used by the New York Subway System were manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company at 3023 North Broadway. The same company also made passenger capsules to transport visitors to the top of the Gateway Arch.
Several St. Louisans have also made significant contributions to the sports scene in New York, no one perhaps more than Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, who played for and later managed the New York Yankees, one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. He appeared in fourteen World Series and won ten championships, both of which are records. To put these numbers in perspective, Yogi personally has won more World Series than all but two major league teams have in their entire histories (the two teams being the Yankees and the Cardinals).
Speaking of Cardinals, the most prominent religious leader in New York is from St. Louis. I’m referring to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the St. Louis native who is currently the Archbishop of New York and was considered by some commentators to be a serious contender in the most recent papal election.
Cardinal Dolan, who is almost as quotable as Yogi, once said that since coming to New York he had learned it was best to drink with the Irish and eat with the Italians. Without disputing his Eminence’s culinary expertise, I would respectfully suggest that any short list of the best places to eat in New York would most certainly include restaurants run by another St. Louis native, Danny Meyer.
Danny arrived on the New York restaurant scene in 1985, when he opened Union Square Café. Since that time he has become perhaps the most critically acclaimed restaurateur in the City, accumulating multiple awards far too numerous to list in this space. He’s also an alumnus of Camp Nebagamon in northern Wisconsin, the alma mater of Dan Kopman, the co-founder of the brewery.
ARs will recall my references to Nebagamon in this space three years ago. I continue to marvel at the accomplishments of its alumni and their esprit de corps. I still recall a question posed by one alumnus one night over a beer at The Tap Room: “Do you think native Americans used to send their sons to summer camps with Jewish names?”
Whatever the answer, the Nebagamon connection between Danny Meyer and Dan Kopman is largely responsible for the upcoming launch of Schlafly Beer in New York City in the week of May 13-17. Yogi Berra, whose 88th birthday is on May 12th, will be able to celebrate his special day with a beer from his home town. Cardinal Dolan, who has told me that he likes Schlafly, can also enjoy a home town beer without getting on a plane to St. Louis.
Among Danny’s many restaurants in New York are Shake Shack and Blue Smoke, both of which have operations at Citi Field, which reminds me of some sports trivia that even most New Yorkers might not know.
Who won the first game played at Citi Field and the first game played at Madison Square Garden? The answer: Georgetown University, whose baseball team beat St. John’s before the start of the Mets season in 2009 and whose basketball team beat Manhattan in 1968, during my sophomore year in college.
I mention this because it would be wonderful to have Schlafly Beer available both at Citi Field (when the Cardinals play the Mets) and at Madison Square Garden (when the Blues play the Rangers). It would even be good to find Schlafly Beer in the Greek tavern that made KEO infamous, though I’d hate to see good beer wasted on kinky activities characteristic of pornographic movies.