A Brief History of Brewing in Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute Brewing,
Terre Haute Brewing (post prohibition), Vigo Brewing
Terre Haute Brewing Company
1837 - 1848
Kaufmann & Mayer
Terre Haute Brewing Company
|Chauncey Warren and Demas
Deming, Sr. started the Terre Haute Brewing Company in 1837 at 8th and
Poplar Street. Soon this site was used by Earnest Bleemel's brewery until
Matthias Mogger bought the business in 1848.
A. Kaufmann and Anton Mayer bought it in 1868 upon Mogger's death and it became Kaufmann & Mayer. Mayer bought out the Kaufmann family's share in 1869 when he died. At that time the brewery was producing 2,500 bbls monthly.
Anton Mayer was an immigrant from Wurtemberg, Germany and was employed in a brewery there before he moved the the U.S. at age 16. He worked for 8 years as a brewer in Cincinnati, becoming a brewmaster. He was also Matthias Mogger's brother-in-law.
Mayer sold his company in 1889 to Crawford Fairbanks (of the Indiana Distilling Co. - see below), John H. Beggs, and Deming. It was then merged into the Terre Haute Brewing Company. At this time it occupied 2 blocks at 9th and Poplar and produced 30,000bbl annually.
By the turn of the century, THBC was the 7th largest brewery in the US. Stables were a block away with 50 Clydesdales and Belgians delivering beer to the immediate area.
The built a new office, storage house, and bottling works in Indianapolis in 1904 according to Ice and Refrigeration Illustrated, July-Dec 1903
They had expanded to 901-935 Poplar St. by 1910. At that time, Crawford Fairbanks sold his interest in the brewery to "the Beggs Brothers".
Not all was rosy in a city awash in beer. In the early part of the century Terre Haute was called the "Paris of Indiana" or more often "Sin City" due to the wide-open nature of the mayors' corruption. Sporting houses, and saloons without closing hours were the most obvious public aspect of the local political machine being funded by brewery money. Mayor Bidaman was impeached in 1906 and Mayor Roberts convicted of election fraud in 1915, serving time.
Previous to Prohibition, THBC was not a member of the Indiana State Brewers' Association and did not join any lobbying efforts to stave off dry counties in Indiana. The ISBA claimed THBC was "owned by distillers" and "a detriment to brewers".
In 1910, Crawford Fairbanks sold some of his interest in the brewery and instituted a financial reorganization with Thomas Beggs buying a big portion of the stock.
Closed at the onset of prohibition. New president, Oscar Baur, reorganized THBC in 1934. Baur was a former Terre Hautean who returned to the city in 1933 with his brother, Jacob, specifically to re-start the brewery. It reopened on March 17, 1934.
A local ad man, William Polje, started the motto "The Beer with the Million Dollar Flavor" and for publicity the brewery insured the formula's secret for one million dollars.
By 1935 distribution of Champagne Velvet had expanded to 19 states and was eventually sold in all 48. Production peaked at 202,000 bbls.
The Atlantic Brewing Company bought the assets in 1958 and operated it for one year under the name Terre Haute Brewing Corp.
The Champagne Velvet brand name appeared in 1904. Other brands included 76 Ale, America's Pride, Blackhawk, Radium, and, starting in 1957, Red Top, 20 Grand, and Barbarossa.
They seem to have acquired Red Top, 20 Grand, and Barbarossa names from the Red Top Brewery of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The CV trademark ended up with G Heilman (brewed in Evansville's Sterling Brewery), then Stroh, Schlitz, and Pabst. They ceased production of CV in the late 1960s. The name was bought back in 2000 at the new Terre Haute Brewery (below).
There are a lot of pictures of the Terre Haute Brewing Company at the Indiana Historical Society Digital Image Collections.
???? - 1905
People's Brewing Company
|Located on the bluff between
Water and S. First Streets on a site previously occupied by the home of the
Link family. This residence had been changed to a boarding house that rented
rooms to "organ grinders, rag pencil peddlers, itinerant musicians and
miscellaneous street hawkers".
According to The Register of United States Breweries 1876-1976 Henry Becker had a small (under 500 bbl capacity) brewery on this site until 1905 when it was sold to the new People's Brewing Company
Principles in the company included Ralph Charles, N. Murphy, and John F. Hutchison. First brew was on May 18, 1905.
Frantz Brogniez, an immigrant from Belgium, was the brewmaster and superintendent. He had previous established breweries in Lichterville, Belgium, and Detroit - Tivoli Brewing in 1897.
Started with a stock filing of $200,000 on June 27, 1904. The plant was designed with a 40,000 bbl capacity.
They made Celtic and Spalter brand beers until prohibition. Made Celto cereal beverage but didn't last out Prohibition.
1835 - ~1836
Hager's brewery was located at Water and Sheets Streets near the river. At that time there was much traffic by flatboats which transported goods produced a the brewery, a mill, a distillery, brickworks, foundry, and many slaughter houses.
|"George W. and Henry S.
Glick's brewery, built in 1854 at the southwest corner of Water and Wabash,
is now the site of Willard Kidder's Wabash Flour Mills." The Glicks sold to
Moses Ester in 1860. He closed it in 1876. Maximum output was 70 bbls per
"During the Civil War, the Confederate prison was housed in the former pork packing plant on the hill at the southeast corner of First and Park streets, now the Wabash Distillery's bonded warehouse."
"Imbrey's Brewery and John Bergholz's brewery were on the northwest corner of Seventh and Sycamore streets south of the Wabash & Erie Canal." It closed before 1875.
"Max Reesman's (Reismann?) brewery was north of the canal and south of the railroad on North Seventh Street."
"Albert Hertwig's brewery was at the corner of Eighth and Poplar streets before 1860." It closed in the middle of the 1860s.
1874 - 1880
|Paulus Walser started a brewery in 1874. Around 1877 he sold it to Reinhold Klant who enlarged it to 1000 bbl capacity before it closed.|
|• Seventh Street
• Chris Stark
|The Register of United
States Breweries 1876-1976 also
|Moses Ester Brewing Co.
Before 1868 - 1870s?
|The Moses Ester Brewing
Company was on the corner of Ohio & First. It is listed in the Vigo County
Archives of Terre Haute, 1868.
Eugene Duenweg was the superintendent of the brewery in the 1870s.
|Terre Haute Brewing Co.
1870s - 1883
|The first company named the Terre Haute Brewing Company was owned by Fred Feyh, Coelstein Kinzle and Theodore Kriescher in the 1870s and early 1880s. It was at the southwest corner of First and Ohio streets. This business ended in 1883.|
Indiana Distilling Co.
Merchants Distilling Co.
Commercial Distilling Co.
|There was a distillery at
Water and Sheets Streets before 1840.
The major distillery in Terre Haute had roots back to 1840 when formed by Ezra W. Smith and Horace Button. This operation burned in 1847 but was rebuilt by Smith. Alexander McGregor bought it in 1850 and did profitable business during the Civil War. Herman Hulman bought it from Smith in 1870. By 1880 this distillery, then at First and Wilson Streets, was owned by Crawford Fairbanks and Robert S. Cox and was in the news when a boiler explosion killed 7 people. On June 29, 1884, a this 4-story distillery (by then owned by Fairbanks and Duenweg) burnt to the ground. It was reported that 300 hogs were roasted when the fire spread to nearby barn. The distillery was rebuilt, becoming the Indiana Distilling Company. In 1895 they built a 6-story Majestic Distillery that was thought to be the world's largest with a capacity of 60,000 gallons a day.
The Merchants Distilling Co was founded in 1898 by Fred B. Smith and had a capacity of 15,000 gallons daily. It was on south First St. This enterprise was reopened after prohibition. They went bankrupt in 1959. court ruling
|Terre Haute Brewing
2000 - 2006
Brewpub and bottled beers.
Founded by Mike and Teri Rowe and Gary and Diane Richards in the same
building as the old Terre Haute Brewing Company.
The first brewmaster was Ted Herrera with Tim Robson, assistant. The principle products were pilsner, amber, and bock beers.
The flagship Champagne Velvet beer was made to a 1901 CV recipe.
The restaurant business ended in 2005. They stopped brewing in 2006. In 2007 the plant was sold to Vigo Brewing (below).
|Vigo Brewing Company
2007 - Present
|The Brugge Brasserie in
Indianapolis and some other investors bought the Terre Haute Brewing Company
facility to make beer for the brewpub and to bottle the Brugge beers. They
also contract brew for others including the Wabash Valley Beer Company.
Micah Weichert was the first head brewer, followed by John Kopta.
Copyright 2004, 2007, 2009, Bob Ostrander