A Brief History of Brewing in
Thieme & Wagner, Star City,
Lafayette Brewing Co.
Before 1851 - after 1868
"At about 1 a.m. lightning struck Emdee's Brewery." - Tippecanoe
County Historical Association - July 27, 1851.
The Indiana State Gazetteer and Business
Directory of 1859 lists "Christian Emdee, brewery, Ohio, between Romig
St. and Sample's Tannery."
The Indiana Business Directory for 1868
lists the City Brewery, J & H Emdee, on Third Street between Ramsey and
|Newman & Miller
1842 - 1857
1857 - 1868
Newman & Herbert's Spring Brewery
1868 - 1872
Newman & Bohrer's Spring Brewery
1872 - 1888
George A. Bohrer Brewing Co.
1888 - 1918
|John H. Newman, an
immigrant from Mecklinburg, Prussia and his brother-in-law, Abraham Miller,
built a brewery in southern Lafayette near the Wabash & Erie Canal in 1842.
Miller died shortly after.
moved the brewery in 1856. This new brewery was on the east side of Fourth
St. south of Alabama St. (82 or 111 S. Fourth St). Water was brought through
a 3-inch pipe from a spring "some distance away", giving it the name.
The brewery started to pipe its water to
neighbors in 1858. It also installed a fire plug on the street in front of
the brewery and built a bath house next to the brewery offering "hot and
cold spring baths". Eventually the spring dried up.
There is evidence that the old location was
still used as a second brewery. The City Directory of 1861 lists both
"Newman's, Fourth and Alabama" and "Newman's on the Wabash and Erie Canal
near Ellsworth Street". In 1868 the county rolls record a "Wabash Brewery,
Frederick Newman, prop, cor Canal and South".
Meinrad Hauser was a partner for a short
period in 1867 before unsuccessfully opening his own brewery at Fourth St.
and Teal Rd.
Dietrich Herbert (late of Wagner & Herbert,
joined Newman in 1868.
George A. Bohrer, an immigrant from Bavaria
and husband of Catherine Newman, moved to Lafayette from Cincinnati in 1872
and bought Dietrech Herbert's interest in the firm. It was renamed Newman &
Bohrer. Production capacity was about 10,000 bbls.
1890 drawing from A Glimpse of Lafayette
In 1888, at John Newman's death, it became
wholly owned by George A. Bohrer and referred to as "Bohrer's brewery".
Bohrer paid $12,000 for Newman's heirs' ownership. Later, his son, Charles
J. Bohrer, became the Vice President of the company and his son-in-law,
Joseph Blistain, became treasurer.
made Indiana Pride, Bohrer's Amber Beer, and Bohrer's Special Brew ("Brewed
expressly for family use").
It had a capacity of about 14,000 bbls
before it closed due to Prohibition.
Continued until 1928 under prohibition
making ice cream under the name Bohrer Products. Co. The full city-block of
building complex was demolished in Sept, 1939 and replaced by a Kroger
Much more information can be found at
Ben Ross's pages.
|Wagner & Herbert Co.
1848 - 1862
Thieme & Wagner
1862 - 1918
|Founded by John Wagner and
Dietrich Herbert in 1848 at 151 N. Fourth St. near Union. Herbert sold his
interest to Frederick Thieme in either 1858 or 1862 (accounts vary but most
say 1862). This brewery made about 2,000 bbls of beer annually.
Wagner was an immigrant from Weimar, Germany. With the proceeds from the
successful brewery he bought interest in several Lafayette banks. He died in
1904 and his house at 715 N. Fourth St. still stands.
Lafayette Artificial Ice Co was a spin-off
company in the 1890s. That company became the Lafayette Ice & Coal Co.
"As of 1899, John Wagner was president of the company, Charles C.
Thieme was vice president, J. Henry Thieme was secretary and
treasurer, Theodore Wagner was superintendent, and Frederick P. Thieme
was a brewer. After the death of John Wagner, senior, in 1904, his
son, also named John Wagner, became president of the brewing company.
When the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce was established in October,
1913, John Wagner, was elected president." -
On April 1, 1901, Frank Wagner, John's son,
is reported to have owned Lafayette's first automobile. It was a red steamer
built in Indianapolis.
A trademark for "The John Wagner Sons
Brewing Co." was filed with the Indiana government on May 12, 1900. This
may have been an enterprise of Frank Wagner and it may have never actually
The 1901 City Directory lists John Wagner,
Pres. Fred P. Thieme, VP & Treas. Frank H. Wagner, Sec and Mngr Bottling
Dept. Telephone number 47.
Brewers around this time included Gustav
Schmid, Matthew Schmid, Charles Wagner, and Michael Yost. August Weniger was
As many breweries did at the time, their
output was bottled by another firm. In this case it was Tengen & Thieme (below)
located across the street. The Tengen part of this company were Wagner's
T & W brands included
Bohemian, Extra Brew, T&W Special, Lockweiler Special Brew, Star City and
By prohibition the company had a production
capacity of 35,000 bbls.
|National Fruit Juice Co.
1918 - 1927
1927 - 1933
|Made near beer and Apella
brand apple beverage during prohibition as the National Fruit Juice Company,
a subsidiary that T&W started in 1916 with Gustave L. Goob. Their Apple-Ade
was a carbonated unfermented cider.
Val Blatz Co. took over in 1927.
|Lafayette Brewery, Inc.
1933 - 1953
|The operation was bought by W. G. Hanger at the end
of prohibition for $200,000. He had been running Lafayette Ice & Coal. It
was reorganized as the Lafayette Brewing Company and the brewery facility
was completely rebuilt utilizing 40 men starting in April, 1933.
W. G. Gude was the president of the new
company. It's possible they had some property at 716-814 N. Fourth St. It's
said they gave a free case of beer to every policeman and fireman in
Lafayette every Christmas.
LBI's brands included Tippecanoe (1934 -
1945), Kopper Kettle (1935 - 1942), and Ye Tavern ("The Beer De Luxe").
The original Ye Tavern was the same recipe
used for Tavern Brew before prohibition. It used hops from Oregon and
Czechoslovakia. The brewmaster was Louis F. Panther who had worked for 31
years at the Bohrer brewery (above).
At it's height, the Lafayette Brewery made
about 100,000 bbls annually.
LBI closed in
1953 and the buildings were torn down in 1960 in favor of the now
Harrison Street bridge.
Much more information can be found at
Ben Ross's pages.
"In its mammoth new plant which has been in the course of
construction for the past six months at the north end of Fourth
Street, Lafayette Brewery, Inc., is now engaged in the
manufacture of 'Ye Tavern Brew' beer. The first will be ready
for market before Christmas.
The first run
of the beer, in which the same formula is employed as that used
[until 1918] in the Thieme & Wagner company's 'Tavern Brew' is
now in receiving tanks and started on its way to aging, kegging
and bottling. There are three cellars of aging tanks, and it
requires many days to complete the process after the beer is
manufactured before it is ready for consumption. In all there
are 65 huge tanks used in the ripening of the beer." -
Journal and Courier, Oct 12, 1933.
A 5-story addition was built in 1894,
shown here about 1900 in a picture from the Herman Berry collection.
Noll & Schneider
before 1903 - 1918
E. Noll and Frank Schneider were with the Thieme & Wagner spinoff, Tengen &
Thieme Bottling Works at 821-825 Fourth St.
By 1915 were bottling on their own as Noll & Schneider.
“Bottlers of Thieme & Wagner Brewing Co.’s
Celebrated Bohemian, Pilsner and Lager Beer; Ginger Ale, Champagne Cider,
and all Kinds of Carbonated Drinks.”
They bottled T&W beers at the plant labeled
"Chas. E. Noll, bottler, registered, Lafayette, Indiana"
Charles Noll died in 1920.
|Star City Bottling Works
1880s - 1918
by German immigrant, John A. Ries as a backyard enterprise at 141 S. Fourth
St. By 1896 they made beer. They also made champagne, cider, soda, seltzer,
ginger ale, and other soft drinks.
From this drawing we see they bottled Pabst brand beers.
Employees included Nelllie Ries (wife),
Flora Ries, John S. Ries, William A. Ries, and Laura Ries. John A. died
about 1900 and the business was run by his wife, Nellie.
The 1901 City Directory lists it at "rear
201 S 4th."
About 1909, Henry W. Gagen became the
proprietor and the business moved to 201 S. Fourth St. During prohibition
they continued to bottle soft drinks. By 1930 Star City was gone.
|Meinrad Hauser was a partner
in Newman's Spring Brewery for a short period in 1867 before unsuccessfully
opening his own brewery at Fourth St. and Teal Rd.
"During the summers of 1878 through 1882 temperance people, mostly
women, had protested in vain against licensed beer and gambling stands
at the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Association's annual fairs. Now
they petitioned against the same practices for 1883, but were turned
back on grounds the $1,000 licenses brought money and people to the
fairs while the women "did not contribute to the industries of the
county and therefore should have no voice in the matter." -
Tippecanoe County Historical Association
In 1880, at least, the temperance forces
boycotted the fair. In 1883 and 1884 the fair was not held because of the
effect these boycotts had. In 1885 the fair returned, although dry.
|In 1881 the two Lafayette
breweries totaled 486,000 gallons (or 4.1 million 50cent glasses) of beer.
Howell Bottling Co. was at 121-123 S.
Fourth St. "Bottlers of Beer and Mineral Waters" was in business around
"Partners Stephen J. Hannagan and Patrick L. Fitzgerald had tried a
short-lived brewing operation about 1900, producing "Pride Of the
State" beer." - Tippecanoe County Historical Association
|Sometime in the late 20th century a brewery marketing firm,
Tippecanoe Brewing Company, distributed William Henry Harrison Ale
contracted from the Oldenburg brewery in Fort. Mitchell, KY.
Lafayette Brewing Co.
1993 - Present
founded by Greg Emig, former brewer at Broad Ripple Brewing Company.
Christopher Johnson is the brewer. The building is at 622 Main St.
Greg's father, Joe, subsequently started the
Aberdeen Brewing Company in Valparaiso.
For more information about
Lafayette breweries, see
Ben Ross's pages.
Copyright 2004, 2006, 2009, Bob