A Brief History of Brewing in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Summit City. Stone,
French, Centlivre, Old Crown
Berhoff, Hoff-Brau, Falstaff, Mad Anthony, Warbird
1853 - ~1870
|The first commercial brewery
in Ft. Wayne was founded in 1853 by Herman Hartman.
Herman C. Hartman was a fireman in the Alert Engine Co. until he opened a the first brewery in Fort Wayne at 128 E. Washington (between Lafayette and Clay) in 1853.
There are records of him at the fire department in 1856 and the brewery is listed in city directories in 1859 through 1869. He was born in 1822 and died in 1896.
The City Directory for Indiana, 1859, lists Adolph and August Hartman who work at Herman Hartman's brewery.
Summit City Brewery
1853 - ????
Summit City Brewery
|The Phenning Brewery was
erected in 1853 on the east side of town. by Carl Phenning.
George Meier ran the business after Phenning died. It may have gone out of business temporarily in 1860. It probably was located at 89 Harrison Street.
In 1866 the business was leased to John George Horning who soon bought it outright, expanded, and renamed it. He moved to a new building in 1874. Production reached 2,500 bbl per year.
By 1868 it was named the Summit City Brewery according to Chandler's Business Directory. The location given is 85, 87, 89 Harrison.
Stone Brewery and Malt House
|Stone Brewery and Malt House
1855 - After 1873
|Founded by Herman Nierman,
and immigrant from Munster, Germany. The brewery was on the southwest corner
of Water and Harrison Streets. Known as an "Ale and Lager Beer Brewery".
Owned by brother Martin upon Herman's death in 1873. Martin was a brewer at
Stone since at least 1859.
Herman Neirman's daughter, Frances, married Charles Centlivre
Francis J. Beck
Beck & Stotz
U. Stotz & Co.
Certia and Rankert
Eder, Certia & Co.
Lutz & Company
|In 1856, Francis J. Beck
built a brewery on the feeder canal. The Business Directory for Indiana,
1868 lists the Bloomingdale Brewery owned by F. J. Beck and Ulrich S.
Williams' Fort Wayne Directory of 1964-1865 reveals Adolphus Kamm was a brewer at Bloomindale. He left in 1970 to buy into the C. Dick brewery in Mishawaka - later to become Kamm & Schellinger.
Beck probably died in 1869. Stotz sold the brewery business to Certia and Rankert in 1870.
The City Directory for Ft. Wayne, 1874 lists the Bloomingdale Brewery, Eder, Certia & Company, Proprietors. Brewers of First Class Lager Beer. On the Feeder Canal, west of Wells Street. Henry Eder and Peter Certia were the owners. Fred Fiegel and M. F. Halm were the brewers.
It was subsequently sold to Lutz & Company circa 1877 who operated it until at least 1880.
The property the brewery sat on remained with Beck's heirs.
Maximum capacity was around 4,000 bbls annually. Bloomingdale is the name of the region of Ft. Wayne just north of downtown. The brewery was on "west Wells St."
French / Centlivre / Old Crown
1862 - 1895
|Founded in 1862 as the French
Brewery by an immigrant from the Alsace region of France, Charles Centlivre
and his brother Frank. Charles previously had a brewery in Louisville and in
In 1874 the French Brewery was located "between Feeder (canal) and St. Joe River, 1 mile north of city" on the east branch of Lima Plank Road.
The original brewing facility on the west bank of the St. Joseph River was destroyed by fire on July 16, 1859 but was quickly rebuilt. A malting house was built in 1868 and a bottling building in 1876.
The French Brewery was torn down in March, 1884 and replaced by a new brewery plant that same summer. Renamed to Centlivre in 1895.
|C. L. Centlivre
1895 - 1918
|Charles Centlivre died in
1911. A statue of him was made (with his foot on a barrel) and it is now at
the Hall's Gas House Restaurant on Superior St. in downtown Fort Wayne.
The brewery was located near what is now Spyrun and State Streets between the river and a feeder canal. 2501-2541 Spy Run Ave. It operated a horse-drawn railroad line which was sold to the city in 1894. It also built a public park near the brewery that had horse racing and boat rides.
In 1911 Centlivre was reported to have six tax-determination tanks of 62 gallons each.
Just before prohibition they made 30,000 bbls annually.
Became the Centlivre Ice and Cold Production Storage Company during prohibition. Made a near beer named "That's It" for 2 years.
Introduced the Old Crown Ale brand in 1939 and the Alps Brau name in 1957. Other brands included Bohemia, Muenchener Export, Special Export, Old Reliable, Old German and Centlivre.
A major $1.5 expansion was made in 1950.
which brought capacity up to 250,000 bbls.
|Old Crown Brewing
1961 - 1973
Centlivre merged with Chris-Craft in 1961 and was
renamed Old Crown. Capacity at that time was 125,000 bbls. Motto: Lazy Aged.
Marjorie Aubrey was General Manager. The new company was soon sold to its
Closed on December 1st, 1973 after making 250,000 bbls in previous years.
Old Crown's brands included Nickel Plate, Old Crown, and Van Merritt.
|East End Bottling Works
before 1882 - 1887
Berghoff Brewing Company
Berghoff Brewing Company
Berghoff Brewing Association
Bergoff Products Mfg. Co.
Berghoff Brewing Corp.
|Founded and owned by the
Berghoff family's four brothers, Herman, Henry, Hubert, and Gustav,
immigrants from Dortmunder, Prussia.
In 1882 Herman and Henry bought the East End Bottling Works. They started a brewing operation with a new building started when the Herman Berghoff Brewing Company was incorporated in 1887.
This original brewing building was destroyed by fire just as it opened in August, 1888. It was immediately rebuilt. Headquarters was at 1025 Grant St.
Berghoff beer was sold at the Chicago World Fair in 1892. In 1898 Herman moved to Chicago and opened the Berghoff Restaurant at State and Adams Streets in the loop which was open until 2005. (It reopened in 2009).
Henry was elected mayor of Fort Wayne in 1902.
In 1903 they increased their capital stock with a $250,000 issue. Capacity at this time was about 40,000 bbls.
In 1910 Hubert retired, Gustav became president and it was re-christened the Berghoff Brewing Association.
In 1911 Berghoff was reported to have "two tanks containing 315 gallons each and four containing 100 each".
In 1913, M.C. Norton of the T.M. Norton brewery in Anderson became the manager of Berghoff and was made secretary of the company when Stephen B. Fleming became the manager in 1915. Their telephone number was 105.
Brewers around this time include Doehla Christian, Charles Held, Fred Hutt, Fred Kiel, Pete Marcher, Alois Maurer, Fred Roth, and William Seisling.
In 1917 the plant's capacity was over 180,000 barrels. It was the largest shipper on the Nickel Plate Railroad.
At the start of WWI, the company slogan changed from "A Real German Brew" to "A Real Honest Brew".
Made Bergo soft drink and Berghoff Malt Tonic during prohibition.
The company was reorganized after prohibition with non-family members for the first time. Gustavis' sons left to start the Hoff Brau Brewing Company in 1934 (below).
Sold to Falstaff (below) on April 12, 1954. At this time the Berghoff Brewery had a capacity of over one half million bbls per year.
Brands were Berghoff. International Club.
Motto used at the end of prohibition: The beer that made itself famous.
The Berghoff restaurant in Chicago, from 1960 to 2005, had Berghoff Beer brewed for it by the Joseph Huber Brewing Company of Monroe, WI. The name was sold to Walter Brewing in Pueblo, CO and then to Huber and they went "regional" with Berghoff Original, Dark, Red, and Oktoberfest in 1994. There is now a wide line including a Hefe-Weizen, Pale Ale, Genuine Dark, Famous Bock, Classic Pilsner, and Premium.
|Berghoff Bros. Brewery, Inc.
1934 - 1934
Hoff-Brau Brewing Company
(photos courtesy Bruce Mobley)
Founded by Gustavis Berghoff's sons immediately
after prohibition. The brewery building was a block away from the Berghoff
brewery (above). In fact it was originally named Berghoff
Brothers Brewery, Inc. but that was changed almost immediately. By this time
the Berghoff family was no longer the owners of the original Berghoff
In 1940 Hoff-Brau signed a contract with the Indiana State Fair to be the exclusive beer provider.
John A Berghoff was the president of the corportation by 1949 and had been the president of the National Brewers' Association.
The brewery was at 800 Glasgow Ave. and made a 3.2% beer.
Motto: The beer without a headache.
A 1934 booklet advised parents that "Growing children need a small glass with every meal".
1954 - 1975
|Adam Lemp reputedly made the
first lager beer in the western hemisphere behind his St. Louis grocery in
1838. He grew and renamed the beer Falstaff in the 1840s. The operation went
bankrupt in 1920 due to prohibition. Bought by Joseph Griesedieck, the
Falstaff brand was on near beer, soft drinks, and cured hams. Falstaff is
said to be the first to legally brew beer after prohibition.
Fort Wayne operations started on April 12, 1954 when Falstaff bought the Berghoff Brewing Company (above). The corporation also brewed in St. Louis, New Orleans, Galveston, El Paso, Omaha, San Jose, San Antonio, Cranston RI, and San Francisco.
Brands made in Fort Wayne include Ballantine, Falstaff, Haffenreffer, and Narragansett (which Falstaff bought in 1965).
The Falstaff Corporation was bought by Paul Kalmanovitz's S&P brewing conglomerate (General Brewing) in 1975. At that time it made 1.2 million bbls annually at the Fort Wayne plant. They moved the headquarters to Fort Wayne in 1977.
S&P moved Ballantine from Newark, NJ, and the Narragansett brands from Cranston, Rhode Island to Fort Wayne in 1979 and 1982, respectively. All of S&P's operations were in Fort Wayne by 1985.
S&P eliminated the advertising budget to maximize profits before closing on January 7th, 1990. Production of Falstaff went to San Antonio, TX, Ballantine to Milwaukee. The equipment in Fort Wayne went to China's Pabst facility in 1993. The property at 1025 Grant Ave. was sold by the city in 2001.
S&P's holdings were bought by G. Heileman and Falstaff is now part of the Pabst family, brewed under contract by City Brewery in La Cross, WI.
In the 1990s, Labatt's tried to purchase the Ft. Wayne brewery but the deal never happened.
Specialty labels included M*A*S*H 4077, Polska Piwo, and Beer - yep, generic white and black label - "Ask for it by name". They also made Haffenreffer Malt Liquor and Feigenspan beers.
Sales of Falstaff slid dramatically starting in the 1970s. By 1976 the Fort Wayne brewery was operating at 60% capacity; putting out an estimated 900,000bbl. As Falstaff moved production as it closed its other purchased breweries (San Francisco, San Antonio, New Orleans, El Paso, San Jose, Galveston, Newark, Omaha, and Cranston RI) as well as the home brewery in St. Louis, the Fort Wayne brewery went back to full capacity by 1982 when it made many of the products in the Falstaff library.
It's said Walgreens sold Old Heidel Brau Lager in cans brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Ft. Wayne. This was yet another name used by the conglomerate.
They brewed Pulaski Piwo for a marketing company in Bay City, Michigan. The top of the cans say "Brewed and canned by Great Lakes Brewing Company, Fort Wayne IN".
By 2001, the sales of Falstaff had dropped to only 20,000bbl. By 2004 this is down to 1500bbl. The Falstaff name stopped being used by Pabst on April, 15, 2005.
Late 1850s - ~1875
|The City Directory for Ft.
Wayne, 1869, lists the Star Brewery - Martin Schmidt, Proprietor. Northwest
corner of Wayne and Monroe.
The City Directory of 1871 lists Linker, Hay & Co. (V. Linker, A. A. Hay & Anthony Dreyer) Proprietors Star Brewery. August Schmidt and Frederick Geisel were brewers.
The Register of United States Breweries 1876-1976 lists Linker, Hey & Co. - capacity of 2,000 bbls. Charles Bilser, Anton Dreier, and Peter Spielmann, brewers. Located at the corner of Monroe and Wayne.
Directory for Indiana, 1859, lists as breweries:
of United States Breweries 1876-1976 lists some breweries that closed
|L. Brames & Co.
before 1890 - around 1897
|We've seen a picture of a pre-prohibition bottle from this brewery. It was on East Jefferson Street. It might have been a bottling company associated with the Kuebeler-Stang Brewing Company of Sandusky, Ohio.|
|The Fort Wayne News of Oct 26, 1894 reported William Braeuer, head brewer at Berghoff resigned to start a "brewery, either in Fort Wayne or elsewhere in a few months". No word on whether that actually happened.|
|In 1911 there were two "fruit distilleries" in Allen County - one in Allen and one in Grabill.|
|The Fort Wayne
City and Allen County Directory of 1916 lists:
It also states "The Brewery Workers' Union, No. 62. meets the 2nd Sunday in Strodel's Hall."
|Fort Wayne Brewing Company
1993 - around 1995
This was a beer marketing company. The beer was made
by the Indianapolis Brewing Company and later by the Frankenmuth brewery in
Michgan. Jim McIntyre was the founder and president. He was formerly a
programmer at Tokheim Corp.
The signature O'Malley's Lost Irish Ale was developed by Mark Melchi, formerly a brewmaster at Falstaff.
The first beer was sold in Fort Wayne on St. Patrick's day, 1993.
1998 - Present
|Brewpub. Bought the Muncie
Emporium restaurant at 2002 Broadway and added a brewhouse. Expanded to brew
in a separate building and to sell bottled beer.
Opened a "tied" restaurant in Auburn, IN in 2003 and a second in Warsaw, IN in 2006. A third satellite restaurant opened in Elkhart in 2008, this one being franchised by another party.
Founders were Todd Grantham, Jeff Neels, and Blaine Stuckey.
Oyster Bar Brewery
2000 - 2003
Brewpub. Located on DuPont Rd north of Fort Wayne.
When the Oyster Bar ended brewing operations, brewer Matt Hill went to the
Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington and then to Warbird Brewery back in
The Oyster Bar continues to the present as a restaurant and pub.
|Warbird Brewing Co.
2004 - Present
|Microbrewery. Owner: Dave
Holmes. Original brewer: Matt Hill. When opened, one of the few
microbreweries in the United States to produce beer in cans. Went back to
bottles shortly thereafter. Located at 10515 Majic Port Lane on Indiana 1 at
Ferguson Rd on the south side of Fort Wayne.
Granite City Food and Brewery
2008 - Present
|Brewpub. One of a chain based
in Minnesota. Manager/Brewer: Matthew Burrous.
Copyright 2004, 2006, 2009, Bob Ostrander