Frederick J. Miller was born in Germany in 1824 and moved to the United States in 1854. During his time in Germany, he was a brewer at the Royal Brewery in Sigmaringen.
Upon his arrival in New York City, Miller and his family traveled by ship to New Orleans and then up the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He eventually settled on the west side of Milwaukee and purchased Plank Road Brewery – the current site of Molson Coors’ Milwaukee brewery.
Milwaukee was the ideal place for Miller to start his brewing empire. It’s true, cold winters were necessary for fermentation and storage before refrigeration, and Lake Michigan provided abundant water and ice. Caves in the area were key storage for troves of ice and kegged beer. Because Milwaukee also had a large population of residents with German heritage – and thus an abundant supply of beer drinkers – the beer garden established a few miles away became a major attraction.
Miller’s last residence still sits on Miller Lane above the Miller Valley.