1837 - 1848
1848 - 1868
Kaufmann & Mayer
1868 - 1869
1869 - 1889
Terre Haute Brewing Company
1889 - 1918
1934 - 1959
|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
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.
"One of the leading German citizens and successful business men of
Terre Haute is Anton Mayer, the pioneer brewer of the city, who has
been closely identified with the business interests of this county for
over forty years. Mr. Mayer is a native of Germany, having been born
on January 12, 1842, in Wurtemberg, and is the son of Bartholomew
Mayer. Mr. Mayer was reared on his father's farm in the fatherland,
and received his education in the common schools of his native land.
While in Germany he worked for a period of eighteen months in the
brewery, and the knowledge thus gained formed the foundation for his
great success in that line in this country. He came to the United
States in 1858, when but little more than a mere boy, leaving home and
parents behind. He came direct to Terre Haute but remained in this
city but a short time, going to Cincinnati, Ohio, where for a period
of over eight years he was employed in a brewery, three years of which
he was foreman of the establishment. While at work in Cincinnati he
was a close observer of the way the brewery business was managed, and
became thoroughly familiar with all the details of the same. He was of
an economical disposition and his wages soon accumulated sufficiently
for him to determine to venture into the business on his own account.
When the time came for him to put his plans into force his mind
traveled back to Terre Haute, and so, in 1868, he returned to this
city and formed a partnership with Andrew Kaufman and together they
purchased the brewery plant of his brother-in-law, Mathias Mogger, and
engaged in the manufacture of beer. Mr. Kaufman died about eleven
months after it was established, Mr. Mayer becoming the sole owner.
When the brewery was
first opened for business it was on a small scale, with a yearly
capacity of two thousand five hundred barrels. During his ownership
the plant was improved and enlarged until the capacity, in 1889, was
raised to twenty-five thousand barrels a year. In that year Mr. Mayer
sold that business, which is now the Terre Haute Brewing Company, and
retired from active business. He owns considerable valuable improved
city and farm property, the management of which takes all of the time
he is now willing to devote to business. So successful has been the
business career of Mr. Mayer that he is accounted one of the wealthy
men of Terre Haute, as well as one of the city's leading and
influential citizens." - Greater Terre Haute and Vigo County,
Charles Cochran Oakey, 1908
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
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.
"THE CALL IS CHAMPAGNE VELVET
This is evidenced by
Government records, which, like figures, do not lie, it is evidenced
by the imperative necessity of enlarging materially what is already
the largest brewery in Indiana. This steady increase in the
consumption of Champagne Velvet is due to the appreciation of the
public that it is the best bottled beer that has ever been placed on
the market, it is a popular tribute to the superiority of Champagne
Velvet over all other beers. Champagne Velvet is the beer for your
home. One bottle will satisfy you of this. Terre Haute Brewing Co.
Terre Haute, Ind" - Ad in the Coshocton, Ohio, Daily Age, June 21,
"The Terre Haute Brewing Company has adopted a "layoff" system by
which all employees may get a share of the work. The decreased output,
owing to the increasing "dry" territory, has diminished the amount of
work to be done. It is said one of the glass factories which makes
beer bottles exclusively and in which Crawford Fairbanks, of the Terre
Haute Brewing Company, is the largest stockholder as well as the
largest customer, will close for the summer season a month earlier
than usual. The Glass Bottle Blowers' union has been caring for a
number of unemployed men for some time, as the greater part of the
product of the glass factories in Terre Haute is beer bottles." - Fort
Wayne Journal-Gazette, Mar 17, 1909
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.
Crawford Fairbanks joined Tom Taggert and
W.W. McDeal, president of the Monon Railroad, in the formation of the
French Lick Springs Hotel Company.
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
"Greatest flavor advantage in brewing history!
From first pour to
last, there's more liveliness, sparkle and vitality in every drop of
CV. Live flavor that gives you a keener, brighter, more satisfying
taste. That's because CHAMPAGNE VELVET is especially brewed to stay
lively longer. That's why light, lively CV tastes much better! Plus
all this, CHAMPAGNE VELVET, the Beer with the Million Dollar Flavor,
is as calorie free as beer can be." - Ad in Holland (Michigan) Evening
Sentinel, May 5, 1954
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
Society Digital Image Collections.
Stylized picture from a postcard.