The History of Old Bay
Every Baltimoreans should know what Old Bay is, if you don’t you have been living under a rock and we will move straight into education.
Old Bay seasoning is a unique blend of herbs and spices that was developed by German immigrant Gustav Brunn in 1939. Over 75 years ago, Baltimoreans first sampled Old Bay’s zesty flavor and from that moment on, seafood wasn’t really seafood without it.
So how did this unique, bold blend get its name? Believe it or not, its original name was “Delicious Brand Shrimp and Crab Seasoning.” That name didn’t stick, but the taste sure did. A more memorable name was inspired by a steamship line (Old Bay Line) that traveled the Chesapeake between Maryland and Virginia.
A few things you probably didn’t know about Old Bay:
- One of the possessions Gustav refused to leave in Germany was his spice Grinder
- Old Bay founder Gustav Brunn came to Baltimore after barely escaping Nazi Germany in 1938. He was briefly sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Ettersberg, but, according to his son Ralph, the family was able to bribe the Nazis into releasing him with 10,000 marks. The brunns immediately shipped off to the Charm City and launched Gustav’s seasoning one year later.
- There is such thing as an “Old Bay Ice cream sandwich” – Featuring Old Bay-seasoned ice cream and two crab cakes made by the maniacs at The Iced Dreamery
- Old Bay has an actual mascot who shows up at baseball games and even times square.