Colorful round beer tray from the Keeley Brewing Company, Chicago which depicts a bar scene.
This Object was a souvenir from the Keeley Brewing company, one of Chicago's numerous beer brewers. During the 19th century, European immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Poland, and other countries tapped Old World skills, Midwestern grains, and modern technology to establish Chicago's brewing industry. Companies such as Keeley, Wacker, Seipp, and Schoenhofen employed scientific methods, modern refrigeration, and high-speed bottling machines to create one of the country's most mechanized industries. In addition, companies advertised their products in unique ways, from colorful posters to decorative beer trays. By 1900, Chicago's sixty breweries were producing more than 100 million gallons of beer per year, primarily for local consumption. Horse-drawn beer wagons became a familiar sight in Chicago neighborhoods, supplying local taverns with tasty brew. Chicago remained a beer-making capital until the 1930s, when Prohibition and the Great Depression put most breweries out of business.