Today is a good day to remember Maximillian "Max" Neef, who was born some time in Novermber of 1850. His father ran a resort in the Black Forest where he brewed an elixr called Kiefernadeln Oil. Max received his primary education in Wolfach, then became a student in the high school at Breisach am Rhine. Upon completion of his studies he apprenticed as a cooper for one year, then trained as a brewer for two. He worked in Friesenheim, then Wurtemburg, and finally followed his trade in Switzerland.
In 1869, at age 19, Max emigrated to America aboard the steamer New York and met up with his uncle Fredolin in St. Louis, Missouri. He secured employment at the Green Tree Brewery, a firm in which he would remain for four and a half years. In 1871 his older brother Frederick arrived in St. Louis. He was an experienced bookkeeper with a superb resume, but was not able to find suitable employment.
The three Neefs left St. Louis the next year for Omaha, where Max became a brewer in the Columbian Brewery and Frederick worked in wholesale liquors. The Neefs however were not yet satisfied, and in late 1873 they pushed further west to Denver, then a mining boom town in the Colorado Territory.
Max Neef became a brewer for Ph. Zang in his Rocky Mountain Brewery, while Frederick established a saloon. This saloon became a retail liquor dealer, then a wholesale liquor dealer. In 1876 Max quit Zang's to work with his brother in the firm.
Business was profitable at Frederick Neef & Bro. and after 10 years the brothers sold out and purchased the large and newly built Western Brewery from John Dostal. The firm produced Wiener Maerzen, Franziskaner, Gold Belt and Bohemian Girl Beers. While their brews were popular, they always existed in the shadows of the giants Coors, Zang and Tivoli.
When Colorado went dry in 1914 Neef floundered. It finally went under in 1917, and Frederick and Max sold the firm and retired.