Joseph Owades

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Joseph L. Owades (July 9, 1919 – December 16, 2005) was one of the preeminent figures in the world of light and industrially produced beer. He adjusted analytical techniques and quality control, developing the first "light" beer and the process for making it, creating many new, unique, and successful specialty beers.

Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, Owades graduated from City College of New York (undergraduate) and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (Master’s and PhD in biochemistry, with a dissertation on cholesterol). After wartime work for the US Navy, he went on to Fleischmann’s Yeast, Schwarz Labs, and Rheingold Breweries in Brooklyn, where he became Vice President–Technical Director.

An insight into the nature of yeast metabolism and the starches found in malt led Owades to search for an enzyme that could break the side-branching chains of starch, which could allow yeast to digest all of the starch and produce a beer with no residual carbohydrates and lower calories. Rheingold introduced the first "light beer," Gablinger’s, using this enzyme; its many successors, starting with Miller Lite, have come to dominate the American beer marketplace.

Following his time at Rheingold, Dr. Owades went to work in Greece for the K. Fix Brewery, then to Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, and then to Carling Breweries in Boston. Later, Owades formed the Center for Brewing Studies, where he provided consulting services to many micro- and mid-sized brewers and taught annual seminars.

Among his prominent consulting clients were New Amsterdam Brewing in New York; Anchor Brewing in San Francisco; Boston Brewing, where he developed the highly successful Samuel Adams Lager; New Century Brewing, for whom he created Edison light beer; the Olde Heurich Brewing Company; and Rheingold Brewing, where he re-created the original Rheingold lager.

Dr. Owades held many patents in the field of brewing and elsewhere. One of his recent inventions is Prequel, pill that can be taken before drinking to reduce the effects of alcohol (USA Patent: US 6284244 B1).[citation needed]

He received the 1994 Award of Merit from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and has addressed all major brewing organizations. This past September [year missing], Joseph Owades was among those awarded the Sesquicentennial Medal as a distinguished alumnus by Polytechnic University. He wrote the articles on beer and alcohol metabolism for the Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology. He was named to the Board of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where in 1999 he endowed the Joseph and Ruth Owades Chair in Chemistry.

Dr. Owades died at his home in Sonoma, California on December 16, 2005.

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