A Brief History of Brewing in Fort
Summit City. Stone,
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 - ????
???? - 1866
Summit City Brewery
1866 - at least 1874
|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.
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.
Neirman's daughter, Frances, married Charles Centlivre
Francis J. Beck
1856 - before 1868
Beck & Stotz
before 1868 - 1869
U. Stotz & Co.
1869 - 1870
Certia and Rankert
1870 - before 1874
Eder, Certia & Co.
before 1874 - ~1877
Lutz & Company
~1877 - ~1880
|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
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."
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.
"There are two great breweries here. The oldest is that of C. L.
Centlivre, an enterprising Alsacian, and it is, perhaps, best known as
the French brewery. The situation is a charming one on the bank of the
St. Joseph river, a mile north of the city. The brewery bottling works
and boat house were entirely destroyed by fire on the night of July
16, 18S9, and are to be rebuilt upon a magnificent scale. What, with
the brewery, the handsome residences of C. L. Centlivre and his sons,
the bottling works, and the fleet of pleasure boats on the river, over
$300,000 will be represented." - Valley of the upper Maumee River
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
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
1933 - 1961
|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.
"The case of Kaiser, Beck Co., of Bremen, Germany, against the
Centlivre Brewing company was next called. The suit was to enjoin the
local brewery from using the name "Kaiser" for a brand of beer. It was
claimed by the German company that the name "Kaiser" is original with
them and that the Centlivres have no right to use it. The matter was
settled out of court and no damages were assessed." - The Fort Wayne
Gazette, June 9, 1897
"Mr. Centlivre, proprietor of the French brewery, while he has a good
business and is generally prosperous, feels that Fort Wayne people,
especially all the business men, should be more liberal in their
patronage, and especially more generous in their comments of a home
industry which brings so much money to the town.
Mr. Centlivre pays,
on an average, twelve hundred dollars per month to the government in
the shape of taxes, and employs a large number of men, who must
necessarily spend their money here. Mr. Centlivre makes a quality of
beer equal to any of the brands imported from outside cities, and it
would be a credit to the city for the people to call for it in
preference to any other, in order to give encouragement to a worthy
home enterprise. Mr. Centliver has been in business here for many
years and has proven himself to be a good and very enterprising
We are not urging the
consumption of beer, but so long as people will drink it they should
use the article, which is made at home." - Fort Wayne Daily Gazette”
"If You Want to be Well drink beer that is pure and healthful. Our
Special Export Beer is absolutely pure, properly aged and fermented,
and is made from the best materials money can buy. We spare neither
care, cash nor brains in the brewing of this perfect beer, and the
rich, inimitable flavor is the natural consequence. Drink Special
Export-the beer that tells. C L Centlivre Brewing Co. Phone G2, Made
in Ft. Wayne" Advertisement from 1905
"A gang of masked desperadoes, believed to be seven in number, about 1
o'clock this morning blew the safe in the office of the Centlivre
brewery, after binding the night watch men, and made their escape with
money belonging to the firm. The robbery was one of the most daring
pieces of work in the police annals of Indiana.
The brewery is
located far out on Spy Run avenue, but in a thickly populated
district, and only a short distance away from the city lighting
company's power plant, where men are employed all night long. The
sound of the explosion was heard by a number of people in the vicinity
but it was a muffled sort of report and no attention was paid to it.
The alarm was spread
at 3 o'clock by George Keller, the watchman at the brewery, who cut
the thongs that bound him to a chair in the rear of the plant crawled
down through the boiler looms and running along the river bank, made
his way to the home of Prank Bogash, on the Centlivre stock farm. From
the Bogash home the news was telephoned to the residence of Mr.
Charles Centlivre across the street from the brewery, and to the
police and sheriff.
(Police) were quickly
on the scene, but every door leading to the wrecked office was found
securely and entrance was finally gained through a window which was
found unlocked. With the arrival of the police it was learned that
Watchman Keller was at the Bagash house, but Oscar Kiefer, the night
watchman at the company's barn, who was to have been about the plant,
could not be found. Later he was located along the river bank whither
he had crawled, after having broken loose from a chair in the lavatory
of the office where he had been tied.
Kiefer, the barn-man,
stated that he was walking, about I o'clock, past the office toward
the brewer, and when he had about reached the end of the building,
three men grabbed him and with pistols leveled at his head, shouted:
"Keep still, you------, or we'll blow your head off." - Fort Wayne
Journal-Gazette, May 30, 1905
"Almost any kind of Beer will satisfy some people but in the home none
but the purest should be used. In our brewery cost of manufacture is a
secondary consideration. First, last and all the time our constant
endeavor is to produce a beer that will be second to none in the
world. In Bottled Form is the Ideal Beer for Home Use. None but the
best selected malt and hops enter into its manufacture. After brewing
it is kept in storage for months to give it necessary age. Why not
always keep a few bottles all ready for use in your Ice Box? Centivre
Brewlng Co PINTS AND QUARTS Phone 62" - The Fort Wayne
Journal-Gazette, Sun, Sept 20, 1908
1911 Centlivre was reported to have six tax-determination tanks of 62
Just before prohibition they made 30,000
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
1887 - 1889
Berghoff Brewing Company
1889 - 1910
Berghoff Brewing Association
1910 - 1918
Bergoff Products Mfg. Co.
1918 - 1933
Berghoff Brewing Corp.
1933 - 1954
|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.
"The Berghoff Brewery Will Have a $100,000 Addition
after whom the immense brewing plant is named, left for Chicago this
afternoon to accept the plans of a prominent architect there for an
addition of 50x170 feet to the Berghoff Brewery. The new addition will
be used for beer vault. An ice machine additional to the one already
in operation at the brewery will be purchased to supply the new
storage house. The work is to to completed by March 1, 1891." - Fort
Wayne Sentinel, Aug 13, 1890.
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
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
1934 - 1951
|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.
"WANTED TO BUY
We will pay highest
cash prices for prime quality Malt, and Hops. HOFF-BRAU Beer and Ale
are made of the best materials obtainable, and sure taste better too.
TRY A BOTTLE the next
time you ask for beer, and note the extra fine flavor and body in
every bottle of ALE, BEER or STOUT made by the HOFF-BRAU Brewing
Corporation of FORT WAYNE, INDIANA"
- Ad in the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger, July 5, 1940
John A Berghoff was the president of the
corportation by 1949 and had been the president of the National Brewers'
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
1975 - 1990
|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
Haffenreffer & Co. was formed in 1870 and
moved from Boston in 1964 to Narragansett, RI. The 16 buildings of the
brewery were abandoned until 1983 when they became an industrial park.
This became the home of the Boston Beer Company in 1985.
The Falstaff acquisition of Narragansett
resulted in an anti-trust suit that ended up before the Supreme Court -
U. S. v. Falstaff
Brewing Corp. (1973).
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
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.
P. Ballantine & Sons info
Late 1850s - ~1875
|The City Directory for Ft.
Wayne, 1869, lists the Star Brewery - Martin Schmidt, Proprietor. Northwest
corner of Wayne and Monroe.
Directory of 1871 lists Linker, Hay & Co. (V. Linker, A. A. Hay & Anthony
Dreyer) Proprietors Star Brewery. August Schmidt and Frederick Geisel were
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:
- Albachten & Rolver
- Jocob Hock (Located in the Bloomingdale
section of the city but not the Bloomingdale Brewery)
of United States Breweries 1876-1976 lists some breweries that closed
- Henry Hubach Brewery - capacity of 1,630
- F. Kley & Sons - Fred Kley - production
115 bbls. Also a cooperage. 232 W. Main.
- Eagle Brewery - John M. Reidmiller,
proprietor - production of 145 bbls. Located on the south side of Taylor,
west of Broadway. Probably near the present day intersecion of Reidmiller
Ave. and Eagle St.
|L. Brames & Co.
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
|The Fort Wayne
City and Allen County Directory of 1916 lists:
- Buckeye Brewing Co, Fairfield Ave. and
Wabash R R.
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.
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