Frederick Christian Wilhelm "Fred" Metz was born in Hesse-Kassel, Germany. He was the first-born son of Chief Forester Karl Metz. As a youth he studied his father's trade of forestry, and after his education he practiced the profession for several years. But he was unsatisfied in the forests of Prussia, and the excitement of the new world and the fortunes it promised became front of mind, so at the age of 19 he boarded the steamer Ferriere and made his way to America.
He arrived in New Orleans on November 29th 1849 after a 65 day journey. New Orleans at the time was a melting pot of French, Spanish, Haitian and not a small number of German peoples. The city was crowded, loud and strange and was suffering through a bad cholera epidemic. It was about as far from the tranquil forests of Germany as one could get.
The story was that Metz had just one dollar in his pocket when he arrived in the Crescent City and when he went to spend it he was told it was counterfeit. Metz never found a profession in New Orleans instead he took odd jobs over the winter in order to save up for passage to St. Louis.
In St. Louis he found employment at a clerk in a dry goods store at a salary of $8 a month. In 1855 he married Louisa Beate Gesser of that town. Together they had seven children.
In 1857 the young family settled in Bellevue, Nebraska, where Metz, now 25, partnered with Peter Bartels in a mercantile business. Bartels left the partnership in 1862 and went to Denver, Colorado, a gold mining boom town that had been incorporated only a few months earlier. After some time the Metz family followed Bartels to Denver where Frederick established a wholesale general merchandise store of his own.
In 1864 32-year-old Metz returned to Nebraska where he and his 28-year-old brother Philip purchased the McCumbe Brewery in Omaha, the first brewery in Nebraska. They renamed it the Metz & Bro. Brewery. It was in Frederick's description a "one horse brewery" meaning quite literally it was powered by one horse in the early days. Lacking a team or employees, the owners also had to deliver their product themselves in a wheelbarrow.
Despite these humble beginnings, it was in the brewery business that Frederick finally found his long-sought fortune. The Metz Bros. Brewery grew to be one of the largest in a wide area.
Despite the flourishing brewery, the 1870s were a period of loss for Frederick. His wife Louisa died after giving birth to their son Richard in 1873. This left Frederick a single parent with seven children under the age of 17. The following year Metz's mother Wilhelmine died in Germany. Then in 1875 Metz's brother and partner Philip died.
The brewery was renamed Metz Bros. and Frederick remarried in 1877 to 26 year-old widow Adele Wassmer. She was the widow of Metz's next-door neighbor and family doctor. Frederick and Adele had three children together. In 1889 Metz retired from the brewery business and began devoting his time to community betterment. He founded the Omaha Turner's Society. He became president of German Savings Bank in Omaha. He served in the Nebraska Senate in 1871 and again 1885. In 1896 he was chosen as a presidential elector on the Bryan ticket, and personally carried the vote of Nebraska to Washington.
Frederick Metz Sr. died on the 7th of March, 1901 after a long illness. He was 68 years of age. Over the years succeeding generations of Metz's took over the firm. The Metz brothers' descendants saw the brewery through Prohibition, WWII, and all the way into the 1960s.