Museum logo

La Crosse County Historical Society discovers, collects, preserves, and shares the history of La Crosse County, Wisconsin.

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Lithograph
Catalog Number 2011.014.138
Description "Elfenbrau" large lithograph print titled "Elf Party." Print reads: "Elfenbrau Wholesome as Sunshine" at the top, and at the bottom, "Brewed & Bottled by C & J Michael Brewing Co. La Crosse, Wis." The company logo is in the upper right hand corner. The print itself features elves having a party in a brewery. There is a staircase on the left side where two elves are coming down with beer and food. One has two loaves of bread, and the other has bread, a pretzel, a big mug of beer, a turnip, and a knife. The rest of the elves are drinking and sitting on barrels listening to an elf band, which consists of a trumpet, drum, and standing bass. There are two signs within the print that are in German and read: "Spielen Trinken Lieben Singen," and "Hopfen und Malz, Gott Erhalt'z." There is a big bottle of Elfenbrau in the left hand corner of the print. In small print in the lower right it says that the lithograph was printed in Milwaukee, WI by Gugler. 24" by 36"
Collection LCHS Breweriana Collection
Search Terms Breweriana
Michel Brewery
Featured in Things that Matter
Notes This object was from the Tye Schwalbe Breweriana Collection.

Featured in Things that Matter

"The weather’s been gloomy, college basketball took a turn for the worse, and taxes are due next week. Perhaps it’s time for an elf party where the libations are “Wholesome as Sunshine.”

Elfenbrau, or “elf beer,” was the most popular beer that C. and J. Michel Company brewed in the years before Prohibition, bringing prestige and profit to La Crosse. “There is something attractive about the new beer,” wrote a reporter for the La Crosse Tribune in Sept. 1908 – “a dainty appropriateness to its label which leaves as good a taste in the mind as the fine brew it announces leaves in the mouth.” You will have to decide for yourself whether this lithograph from the La Crosse County Historical Society’s collection is “daintily appropriate,” but I think we can agree that elf parties in brewery basements look intriguing. Peer closely at the print and you will see elaborate beer steins, pretzels, turnips, a four-piece band, and a sign on the wall encouraging party-goers to “Play, Drink, Love, Sing.” What do turnips have to do with beer and elves? We’re stumped; share your thoughts in the comment section online."

This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune.
Title: La Crosse brew a hit before Prohibition
Author: Caroline Morris
Publish Date: April 11, 2015