''In Beer Money, Frances Stroh takes us on a fascinating -- and often chilling -- journey into the world of dark privilege. In prose that is both beautiful and unflinching, Stroh tells a riveting story about the fall of an American family, an American city, and possibly the American Dream itself.'' --Janis Cooke Newman, author of A Master Plan for Rescue
''Of course, the Strohs' story is fascinating in itself. But what makes this memoir special is Frances Stroh's clear, brave voice. Free of regret or judgment, she renders even her family's darkest moments with grace and love. A page-turner in the very best sense.'' --Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author
From the Back Cover
In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of It All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins
Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of enormous privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regency Hotel, and a house filled with precious antiques that she was forbidden to touch. Established in Detroit in 1850, the Stroh Brewing Company had become by 1984 the third-largest brewing empire in America and a brand emblematic of the American dream itself; while Stroh was coming of age, the family fortune was estimated to be worth $700 million.
But behind the beautiful facade lay a crumbling foundation. Detroit’s economy collapsed with the retreat of the automotive industry to the suburbs and abroad, and, likewise, the Strohs found their wealth and legacy disappearing. As their fortune dissolved in little over a decade, the family was torn apart internally by divorce and one member’s drug bust, disagreements over the management of the business, and disputes over the remaining money they possessed. Even as they turned against one another, looking for a scapegoat on whom to blame the unraveling of their family, they could not anticipate that far greater tragedy was in store.
Featuring beautiful, evocative photographs throughout, Stroh’s memoir is elegantly spare in structure and mercilessly clear-eyed in its self-appraisal—at once a universally relatable family drama and an unforgettable American story.
“Beer Money is one of those memoirs you neither put down nor forget. I’ll remember Frances Stroh’s family—and the beautifully candid, honest, and often unforgettable voice she uses to describe them—for a long time. I was very moved by this book.”—George Hodgman, author of Bettyville
“Of course, the Strohs’ story is fascinating in itself. But what makes this memoir special is Frances Stroh’s clear, brave voice. Free of regret or judgment, she renders even her family’s darkest moments with grace and love. A page-turner in the very best sense.”—Katie Crouch, author of Girls in Trucks and Abroad
“A compelling story of loss, but also of the resilience needed to forgive the past and forge a new future. The Strohs may have lost the trappings of the American dream, but Frances Stroh finds something of greater value: compassion for family despite—and because of—their missteps and flaws.”—Melissa Coleman, author of This Life Is in Your Hands
“There are prep school expulsions and drug busts, messy divorces, a Hare Krishna encounter with Annie Lennox . . . and, of course, the evolution of a great American brand. Remember the Swedish Bikini Team ads? Or, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this’? I thought of Sean Wilsey’s great memoir as I read this, but what makes Stroh’s book so particular are the class contradictions. In movie terms, think Ralph Lauren meets Old Milwaukee. Oh, and it’s also a very moving and powerful story of one young woman’s coming-of-age.”—Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up with Me
“Frances Stroh takes us on a fascinating—and often chilling—journey into the world of dark privilege. . . . A riveting story about the fall of an American family, an American city, and possibly the American dream itself.”—Janis Cooke Newman, author of A Master Plan for Rescue