A Brief History of Brewing in North Central Indiana

Argos, Bremen, Delphi, Kokomo, Logansport, Marion, Peru, Plymouth, Rochester, Warsaw


Argos Brewery


"The Argos Brewery is for sale. Eidson and Osborn are endeavoring to purchase it. They mean business." - Rochester Union Spy, March 6, 1873


Hugo Wolff had a brewery of 1,000 bbl capacity that closed around 1885 according to The The Register of United States Breweries 1876-1976 - M. Friedrich & D. Bull


The 1868 Business Directory for Indiana lists a Delphi Brewery, Geo Shillinger, prop. It was near the Deer Creek bridge in Delphi.


Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery

2007 - Present

A brewpub started by a native of Kokomo on the extreme south side of the City along US31. The brewer is John Templet.
Brass Monkey Brewing Co.

2008 - 2009

Started by local homebrewer Andrew Lewis, it was located in the basement of the Sycamore Marketplace in downtown Kokomo. Using cut-open beer kegs as brewing vessels, his 10-gallon batches made the Brass Monkey the smallest licensed brewery in Indiana.

Because of the small brew run Brass Monkey quickly became known for non-traditional beers that change frequently.

All sales were through the bar in the Marketplace. Brass Monkey closed overnight when the Sycamore Marketplace food court closed.


Jacob Kline

~1848 - 1870s

"Probably the first brewery erected in Logansport was built in 1847-8 by Jacob Kline, near the northeast corner of Ninth and Erie avenue. This was only a small affair however, and a few years later he removed his establishment to the north bank of the Wabash river, between Second and Third streets, where he continued in business until about 1865, when he abandoned the old plant and erected a much larger brewery on the hill on Fifteenth street, north of the canal, now Erie avenue. This was successfully operated until in the seventies, when it was abandoned and later the building torn down." - History of Cass County Indiana, 1913

Charles Luy

~1855 - after 1859

Schaefer & Markert

"Charles Luy, about 1855, started a brewery on Columbia street, west of North Sixth street. He also built a large brick residence just west of the brewery, now known as the Borges property. Mrs. Borges, being his only child, occupied this house for many years and until her death. Mr. Luy soon after sold out his brewery to Gotleib Schaefer and Frederick Markert, who soon found it was not a paying investment and it passed into "innocuous desuetude." - History of Cass County Indiana, 1913

"One of the leading industries of Clay Township in an early day was a large distillery built on Eel River near where the woolen mill now stands about the year 1840. It was built by Joshua and Reece Morgan and operated first by Henry Fiddler It was afterward rented by Charles Luy of Logansport who for several years carried on a very extensive and lucrative business, A woolen mill connected with the distillery was operated in an early day by Reece Morgan, The distillery building was a large two story frame structure but all vestiges of it have long since disappeared." - History of Cass County Indiana, 1886

"Conrad Martin started a small distillery at the mouth of Spring creek about 1837 and turned out a fair article of "tanglefoot" where the farmers so inclined could exchange a bushel of corn for a gallon of the stuff. The place bore the euphonious name of "Hell's Half Acre" Geo Rush, Reise and Joshua Morgan, Chas Luy, Jacob Fisher and Henry Fiedler operated the distillery at different times for many years but closed up the business over fifty years ago." - History of Cass County Indiana, 1913

"As early as 1850 Charles Luy ran a cooper shop at the southwest corner of Ninth and Erie avenue and in April 1864, Chas F Thompson & Co. operated a large shop at this place, later by Miles & Torr and finally by Harry Torr alone, and for many years he did an extensive business and shipped barrels and cooperage to all the leading cities throughout the United States, but like all the other factories in wood, ceased its activities more than twenty years ago owing to the scarcity of timber Arnold for " - History of Cass County Indiana, 1913

The Indiana State Gazetteer and Business Directory of 1859 lists "Luy, Charles, Prop'r Brewery and Dealer in Produce."

Logansport Brewing Company
1866 - 1894

Columbia Brewing Company
1894 - near  prohibition

K.G. Schmidt Brewing
1935 - 1951

(photo courtesy Bruce Mobley)

August Frost founded this brewery in 1866 on the north side of High St, west of Fifth (412-416 High Street). He sold it some years later to John Hurbner who sold it to John Mutcheler who renamed it the Logansport Brewing Company. Eugene Prager was the president and manager in 1890. The Binz family seems to have been in charge later.

The Register of United States Breweries 1876-1976 lists the owners as:

August Frost
Sold about 1870 to Jacob Klein. Capacity 650 bbls.
Sold about 1875 to John Mutschler. Capacity less than 500 bbls.
Became Logansport Brewing Co. in 1889. Capacity 10,000 bbls.
Became Columbia Brewing Co. in 1894. Capacity 12,000 bbls.

According to the Logansport Weekly Pharos, Logansport Brewing was sold in 1894 to Ferdinand Krebs; Mrs. Binz three sons Frank, August, and William; and George Schmidt. In September of 1894, August Binz resigned as bookkeeper.

John G. Kelp was the first manager of the Columbia Brewing Company when it was re-formed in 1894. By 1913 it had been greatly enlarged with an ice plant, 45 employees, and produced 25,000 barrels of beer that year. Brands included Logan Brew.


"Mrs. Bertha Kelp, wife of John G. Kelp, head of the Columbia Brewing Co., died suddenly Friday morning about 3:45 o’clock at her home 623 Miami avenue, Logansport, aged 51 years. The news of her death came as a great shock to many people, as they did not know she was ill. Mrs. Kelp had been ailing for some time, but she was not forced to her bed until Monday. She had been suffering with typhoid fever and death was the result of a sudden change for the worse, which is peculiar of the disease.

"- - - at Winamac Thursday at midnight when she was given judgment against the Chicago & Erie Railroad Company for personal injuries sustained in the auto smash-up near Rochester, Aug. 12, 1910. The ink on the court docket was only dry about three and one-half hours when Mrs. Kelp passed away. - - - She was awarded a verdict of $5,000, but the attorneys for the railroad company asked for a new trial. Thursday the arguments were made and the presiding judge overruled the motion, signing the docket at the close, which was midnight Thursday." - Rochester Sentinel, Saturday, March 16, 1912.

The K. G. Schmidt Brewing company of Chicago was owned from the 1860s until prohibition by the Schmidt family, Kaspar and his son George K.

George was appointed City Controller of Chicago in 1928 but when he lost the mayoral election against "Big Bill" Thompson in the 1932s he moved to Logansport. During prohibition he refurbished the closed Logansport Brewery and, in 1935, re-opened it as the K.G. Schmidt brewery with his sons G.K. Junior (secretary) and Ernst (vice president).

George K. died in 1939.

This division went bankrupt around 1950. The ensuing court case involved Schlitz Brewing and wasn't settled until after 1978.

Also see The Hunt for G. K. Schmidt if you're interested in duck decoys.

The United Brewery Workers Union No 78 was organized in Logansport in 1892.

and Jonesboro

Robert Corder


The Chandler's 1868 Business Directory for Indiana lists a brewery in Jonesboro (then spelled Jonesborough). It was owned by Robert Corder.
Indiana Brewing Association

Marion Brewing Association

Indiana Brewing Company

1887 - 1913

(photo courtesy Bruce Mobley)

This was reputed to be one of the largest and best-equipped breweries in northern Indiana at the time. It was located at 1550 Railroad Ave (now 525 Lincoln Blvd.)

In 1909 it bought the local paper, The Dawn. This was during a "local option" temperance campaign.

Brands included Bottled Tiger and Indiana Beer "The Pride of the State". Peak capacity was 40,000 bbls.

"Marion Brewing association has made announcement that it will retire from business at the end of this month. This is the first brewery of any considerable size to quit business in Indiana since the anti-liquor agitation started several years ago.

The Marion brewery is a big one and for years it turned out a great output of beer. Its owners were among the leaders in the brewing business in Indiana, and in the state associations organized by Indiana brewers from time to time. They were leaders and took a prominent part in every brewery activity or movement. They were also powerful in local politics at Marion, because there were more than a hundred saloons in Grant county a few years ago, and nearly all of them sold Marion beer.

For many years, however, there existed a strong prohibition sentiment in which for years cast more prohibition votes than any other county. There has never been any cessation of activity on' the part of the temperance people of Grant county. Not only the prohibitionists, but the Woman's Christian Temperance union has been strong there. Grant county temperance people were leaders in the fight for the enactment of the county option law and did as much as any other county in the state to bring it about and they have fought to retain the old liquor laws and to prevent their repeal by the democrats, so when the county option law was passed and the temperance people had a chance to make the fight they brought on a local option election and made Grant county dry. The matter was fought through the courts and the drys won, and the usefulness of the brewery at Marion was over. The saloons of Grant county went out of business and the brewery lost its trade.

Later, when the county option law, was repealed and city and township option, was substituted, the temperance people of Grant county did not lose heart, but they went at it and succeeded In making Marion and all the rest of the county dry again. This was the straw that broke the back of the (brewery and) it had to quit.

The brewery has announced that it will turn over to the revenue officers whatever beer is on hand at the close of the month. In some of the counties of the state, breweries closed or greatly curtailed their output when the county option law was in force, but this is the first time that a brewery of considerable size has found it necessary to quit business under the fire of the temperance people.

The Anti-Saloon league is in rather a quiescent stage, judging from the little noise that has been made for some time past in liquor circles by that organization. It is said that some of the members cannot see much to be gained by any special activity at this time, or while the democrats are so firmly entrenched in power in Indiana, for the democratic legislation on the liquor proposition has been such as to leave little for the anti-saloon people to hope for from them. But the Anti-Saloon league is going ahead in its own quiet way. keeping its lines well drawn and standing ready to make a fight at any when the occasion calls for it. Persons who have the idea because the league is quiet it is riot in a healthy condition have another think coming." - Fort Wayne News, June 26, 1913

The Kiley Brewing Company bought the assets after prohibition.

Kiley Brewing Company

1934 - 1942

Their main brand was Patrick Henry. The address was 525 Lincoln Blvd.

They advertised heavily in Ohio and Wisconsin in the 1930s.

Slogans: "Masters of All Ale, Stout, Half-and-Half", "Patrick Henry, The beer with an ale base".

Capacity topped out at 200,000 bbls.

In 1936 they ran into an embarrassing situation when the sales agent was named one of the highest salaried people in the country. See the newpaper article here.

Fox Deluxe Brewing Company

1942 - 1951

In 1942, Kiley and the Patrick Henry brand ended up in the Grand Rapids, MI division of Peter Fox out of Chicago. The brands were Fox Deluxe and Silver Fox. Production ended in Marion in 1951.


George Rettig & Son
1859 - 1867

Rettig & Cole
1867 - 1878

James O. Cole
1878 - 1905

Peru Brewery
1905 - 1908

(photo courtesy
Bruce Mobley)

James Omer Cole and George Rettig went to California in 1850 to do some gold prospecting. Rettig returned to Peru after 4 years and Cole continued on in California, opening a store.

Cole returned from California in 1867 and had saved $30,000. This was well enough to buy into the Rettig brewery and have a family fruit farm in South Peru (annexed by Peru in 1914).

The firm of Rettig & Cole is referenced in official documents in August 4, 1877 as owners of land that through which a ditch would pass. Production was large for the time at 6,940 bbls peak.

"Last Friday noon we made a little run over to Peru and returned in the evening. ... On our drive we expected to take in Col. Sol. Hathaway, of Indianapolis, one of the rock-ribbed Hoosier newspaper men, but after putting himself outside of one of Bob Pelkey’s ten pound dinners it was thought unsafe to subject him to a shaking up behind Kratzer’s careering steeds. From the water works we drove across the river to Omer Cole’s (formerly Rettig’s) mammoth brewery, where it is said the purest and best beer in Indiana is manufactured."  The Rochester Sentinel, February 7, 1879

Franklin J. Blair was killed in an explosion at Cole's Brewery on July 18, 1885. Or maybe it was Maurice Burch, or on July 25th.

"The large boiler in the COLE brewery at Peru exploded last Saturday just at the dinner hour when all the workmen were away from the building and out of danger. Unfortunately Maurice BURCH, a young man whose home was in Liberty township, this county, in company with a friend was in or near the building and was struck on the head by a flying missile that fractured his skull, from the effects of which he died the same evening. His remains were brought home for burial. The engine room in which the boiler was located was two-story and it was completely demolished, portions of it being thrown 400 feet distant. Damages estimated at $4,000. The young man so suddenly and unexpectedly killed, was about twenty-five years of age and said to be a very fine and honorable gentleman."  The Rochester Sentinel, Wednesday, July 29, 1885

George Rettig is listed as having "interests in brewery, pork packing & real estate" in 1888 according to the book "Here We Live Over the Last Fifty Years", Peru and Miami County, 1885-1935 by Patricia Jones Settle.

The Cole Brewery was unionized by 1891 but that union disbanded that year. An effort to re-form the union was attempted in 1901.

There is reference to J. O. Cole being the proprietor of Peru Brewery in 1905. By this time production was up to 12,000 bbls annually.

Their beer, a bock among other styles, was bottled in corked embossed bottles as shown at the left as well as 1-quart stoppered bottles.

The Cole brewing operation ended with local option prohibition. By that time the family had a traveling circus and also continued the Cole Bros. Natural Spring Water using the same spring that supplied the brewery. This was sold in 2005 and 2006 by the Cole Water Company, 52 Strawtown Pike, Peru. That company was sold to IdeaSphere Inc.

Cole Porter, born 1891, was given his his mother's maiden name (J.O. Cole's daughter).

Andrew Baldner  

"Andrew Baldner once operated a brewery on Canal street, about a square east of Broadway, and at one time it was one of the prosperous business enterprises of Peru. Like the old water power woolen mill and the distillery, (see below) it has disappeared and scarcely a trace of these early industries remains to show where they stood." - History of Miami County, Indiana, 1914

The only other references to Andrew Baldner found are marriage records in Peru of him to Rosina Zehry in 1854 and to Theressa Roedel in 1865.

Hinton & Co.


The 1886 Miami Business Gazette lists a Hinton & Co. as brewers and wholesale ice.

"... Jesse Smith established a distillery at an early date. It did a flourishing business until the passage of the internal revenue law levying a tax upon spirits, when it was discontinued. A. C. Brownell was interested in this institution during the latter part of its existence." - History of Miami County, Indiana, 1914

This was located east of the woolen mill near the canal east of the city.


John Hoham       

1857 - 1884

"John Hoham, an old and honored citizen of Plymouth, was born in Alsace, Germany, in the city of Strasburg, June 17, 1820. In September, 1831, he left home and began working on a farm, and in 1840 came to the United States, landing in New York city after a voyage of fifty-six days. ... He then came west, and in September, 1844, located in Marshall county, Ind., purchasing a farm of eighty acres in the old Indian reserve at Lake Maxinkuckee, in Union township. ... He disposed of his farm in 1852 and purchased a farm of 200 acres in West township. ... In October, 1857, he purchased three acres of land one mile southwest of Plymouth, to which he at once removed and upon which he erected the first brewery in Marshall county. He continued the brewing business and in connection with the same carried on farming and stock-raising quite extensively for a period of ten years, when he sold the brewery to his brother-in-law and partner, John Klinghammer, who continued the business, Mr. Hoham remaining possessor of the outside property." - History of Indiana, Special Edition for Marshall County, 1890

During the Civil War, "Mr. Hoham put in a substitute, whose name was Alexandria Dunlap, and paid him $800." (same source as above)

John Klinghammer was born in the Alsace region of France and emigrated to the U.S. By 1874 he was living in Plymouth and had a management role in the Hoham family brewery having married Magdalena Hoham.

Klinghammer's daughter, Mary, married Jacob Weckerle, a local saloon keeper, and he joined the business in 1874.

The brewery produced 1,585 bbls of beer at peak. We have not been able to find any brand names used.

The Hoham Mansion (pictured) on Ind 17 on the southwest edge of Plymouth has a cellar dug in 1857  in the yard under 9 feet of dirt. Down there are two rooms, each 70 by 20 feet with high vaulted roofs and dirt floors. Brick vats in these rooms were made for storage of a lager beer made in this private brewery. These rooms were also reportedly used as part of the Underground Railroad.

We've seen an amber bottle, purportedly from the 1890's, for sale on eBay that is embossed "Henry Stien, Plymouth IND".


Eidleman & Haslett

???? - 1870?

"Dissolution Notice is hereby given that the partnership heretofore existing between John B. Eidleman and Geo W. Haslett, in the brewery business in Rochester, has, by mutual consent, been dissolved.... Either member of the late firm are authorized to settle." Rochester Standard, Januarv 6, 1870

Eidleman may have continued brewing and is possibly the same person involved in this story:

"John Adleman, the brewer, and one of his employees, were arrested Saturday for stealing meat from Jake Rannels and chickens from James Elliott." Rochester Union Spy , January 12, 1872

Rochester Brewery
1873 - 1876

Metzler Brewery
1876 - at least 1886

"We have trustworthy information to the effect that the Rochester Brewery is now making a first-rate article of beer." Rochester Union Spy, Thursday, Julv 24, 1873

"John B. Metzger (sic), of Wabash, has bought the old brewery at this place and having refitted it throughout will begin brewing beer next week." - Rochester Sentinel, November 4, 1876.

Metzler was also a pharmacist in town.

"The Rochester Brewery is now supplying its several customers with what is pronounced good beer at less than city rates. By all of the home trade patronizing the Rochester Brewery it is estimated that at least $10,000 will be kept within the borders of Fulton county." - Rochester Sentinel, Saturday, January 13, 1877

"Mr. Metzler, proprietor of the north end brewery has secured a good lot of thick ice from Lake Manitau." - The Rochester Sentinel, January 11, 1879

"The Rochester Brewery is in operation again turning out some fine beer." The Rochester Sentinel, August 2, 1879

A story is told in the Rochester News-Sentinel about people stopping at the Metzler Brewery in 1886 (located in a triangular plot north of the Erie Railroad tracks and between them and Monticello road, west of Main Street).

Geo. O. Harlan & Co. operated a distillery in Rochester in 1860 through around 1900.

There are 3 distilleries listed in Rochester around 1900, George O. Harlan and Co., Metzler Brewery, and S. Wagoner & Co.

A bottling works was built in Rochester in 1900 by Howell & Wesson. They bottled soft drinks and beer.


According to YesterYear In Print about Warsaw of 1862-1863 "A fanning mill, a brewery, and two foundries were in Warsaw about this time."

Lang & Randels built a brewery in Warsaw in 1864.

William Augustine had an ice house on North Lake Street from 1865 to 1869 as well as a brewery.

The Warsaw Daily Times of October 19, 1901 says "That old church edifice after the Warners left his county and settled in Iowa became the frame-work for the first brewery and the only one that Warsaw ever had." This does not describe when, what church, which brewery, or where it was located.

The Old Jail Museum in Warsaw has a "blob-top" bottle of Athrope beer bottled in that town sometime around 1910.

The Mad Anthony Brewing Company of Fort Wayne opened a tied house restaurant in Warsaw in 2008. No brewing is done at that location.

Copyright 2004, 2006, Bob Ostrander