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Joseph A. Mulloney Jr., former Carling Brewery executive who was a supporter of ethanol

Joseph A. Mulloney Jr. worked for years in the brewing industry and then turned his attention to renewable energy.
Joseph A. Mulloney Jr. worked for years in the brewing industry and then turned his attention to renewable energy. (Handout)

Joseph A. Mulloney Jr., a former brewmaster and Carling Brewing Co. executive who later advocated renewable energy sources, died July 4 from prostate cancer at his Cockeysville home. He was 82.

“I first met Joe about 35 years ago and we worked together for many years,” said Richard L. “Rick” Rentz, a founding partner of TA Engineering Inc. in Catonsville. “He was one of those people that was not hard to like.”

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Joseph Arthur Mulloney Jr. was born in Boston and raised in Roslindale, a suburb of the city. He was the son of Joseph A. Mulloney Sr., an artist and sign painter, and Mary Howley Mulloney, a bookkeeper.

After graduating in 1954 from Boston Latin School, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then received a master’s degree in business in 1967 from Washington University in St. Louis.

In 1960, Mr. Mulloney joined Fallstaff Brewing Co. in St. Louis as a chemist, then was promoted to brewmaster — ”a position he thoroughly enjoyed” — said his wife of 57 years, the former Judith A. Kelly, a retired registered pediatric nurse.

“He was so good that he could take a taste of beer and tell where it was brewed and what plant it came from, and he could do this with different brands,” she said. “He was really good at that.”

Mr. Mulloney held management and executive positions with Fallstaff, then left in 1968 when he was named vice president of VIP Systems, a Washington tech data processing startup that had been founded by his sister, Joan Van Horn. She died last year.

He returned to the brewing industry in 1971 when he was named manager of Carling’s landmark brewery at Interstate-695 in Halethorpe. He left the industry again in 1975 and established American Solarhol Corp. in Baltimore, which focused on re-purposing closed brewing facilities.

In 1979, he negotiated for the acquisition of the old National Brewing Co. brewery on Dillon Street in Highlandtown from G. Heileman Brewing Co. The plant had been closed since 1978. His idea was to produce ethanol which, mixed as 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, could create gasohol as a fuel for vehicles.

While speaking to an Eastern Shore meeting of the Maryland Grain Producers Association, Mr. Mulloney said he would start out making alcohol from corn. “Within two years we could be producing 10 million gallons of ethyl alcohol,” he said, according to The Baltimore Sun at the time.

He also noted that waste material could be used to make distilled grain, enough to feed 35,000 Maryland cattle.

In 1980, the U.S. Energy Department gave Mr. Mulloney preliminary approval for a $5.3 million conversion of the old brewery to produce 43,800 gallons of ethanol daily from corn, stalks, leaves, cobs, paper waste and wood waste.

“President Ronald Reagan later rescinded the grant,” Mrs. Mulloney said, and the business never went into production.

Mr. Mulloney then joined Muller Associates, a Baltimore consulting engineering firm, and stayed with the company after it was acquired in the late 1980s by EA Engineering Science and Technology Inc. of Cockeysville.

“He later founded Sustech, a sustainable technologies firm,” said Mr. Rentz, a Morrell Park resident. “It was basically a one-man shop.”

For years, the two men shared an interest in cogeneration — specifically generating stations that produce electrical and thermal energy from the same fuel source. In 2005, Mr. Mulloney established Chesapeake Ethanol LLC on the Eastern Shore with several farmers, but the business of producing ethanol never came to fruition.

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Still, he worked in the energy industry and shared his expertise. He was the author or co-author of more than 50 publications in the field and often testified before congressional committees on energy issues.

“Obtaining three energy engineering certificates, he consulted on more than 200 energy and ecological projects around the world for a variety of U.S., state and military agencies, private sector companies and public utilities,” according to a family biographical profile. “In this capacity he became well-traveled, working in 49 states, the Caribbean, Europe, Egypt, China and the Indian Ocean.”

He retired in 2008.

Mr. Mulloney was an ardent environmentalist and supported the work of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists. He also had been active with Boy Scouts of America councils in St. Louis and Baltimore.

A somewhat quiet person, he nevertheless was known for his sharp intellect and a keen wit.

“Joe had a sign over his desk that said, ‘Never miss an opportunity to be silent,’” his wife said.

He was a “socializer at the end of the day, when the pressures of business evaporated,” Mr. Rentz said. “He used to like attending our crab parties at TA Engineering. Even though I had stopped smoking many years ago Joe, who was a cigar buff, would always bring his cigar box and clipper and we’d enjoy a cigar.”

Mr. Mulloney’s hobby was maps, and he enjoyed studying the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam.

“He liked visiting battlefields, and we visited many of them,” Mrs. Mulloney said.

He was also an inveterate basketball, baseball and Baltimore Ravens fan. “And while he rooted for the Orioles, he remained a closet Red Sox fan,” his wife said, with a laugh.

“His favorite type of beer was lager,” his wife said. “He liked Natty Boh, Fallstaff and Yuengling.”

Mr. Mulloney was a communicant of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 100 Church Lane, Cockeysville, where a Memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Mulloney is survived by four sons, Kevin P. Mulloney of Parkton, Michael M. Mulloney of Sykesville, Brian F. Mulloney of Cockeysville and Christopher A. Mulloney of St. Croix; two daughters, Caitlin Kerry M. Mulloney of Federal Hill and Kerry Patricia O’Kelly of Andover, Mass.; and seven grandchildren.

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