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By Jennifer D.

Evansville has a rich brewing history, starting in 1837 when Jacob Rice and his brother-in-law Fred Kroener founded the Old Brewery at the corner of Fulton and Indiana streets. This partnership would start a foundation on which multiple breweries would find their footing. Between 1837 and today, there have been 20-some breweries within Evansville. The brewing history of Evansville is long and complicated, with Evansville having one of the oldest brewing histories in Indiana AND breweries changing hands and names multiple times. With almost 200 years to cover, here is a timeline of Evansville’s brewing history. 

Timeline

  • 1837: Old Brewery is founded by Jacob Rice and his brother-in-law Fred Kroener at the corner of Fulton and Indiana streets.
  • 1843: Indiana’s first drunk driving law is enacted, however, this only applies to stagecoach drivers
  • 1850: Frederick Richert opens a brewery in Evansville in 1850 after emigrating from Wurttemberg, Germany. He and his step-son August Schieber run the brewery until about 1865. After that point, Richert closes the brewery and moved to Mt. Vernon, Indiana.
  • 1851: Eagle Brewery is established by Philip Koch Sr.
  • 1853: Old Brewery splits up. Kroener and his son, John take control of Old Brewery holdings, renaming the brewery Kroener and Son.
  • 1853: Cook and Rice City Brewery is founded. Jacob Rice takes the money from his shares of selling Old Brewery to form City Brewery with F. W. Cook.
  • 1857: John Schueler starts brewing common and lager beers on the corner of Vine and 5th Street.
  • 1857: Eagle Brewery is purchased by Louis Rice after leaving City Brewery (Louis worked with Jacob Rice, his stepfather) with Henry Wingert.
  • 1857: Western Brewery is purchased by Philip Koch Sr. after selling Eagle Brewery.
  • 1858: City Brewery makes the first lager beer in Indiana.
  • 1858: Crescent City Brewery is opened by Joseph Jauch and Herman Wack.
  • 1858: John Emrich opens a brewery downtown.
  • 1861: Franklin Brewery is founded by August Schaeffer.
  • 1862: Western Brewery is sold to Jacom Fahnley and Valentine Kuhn.
  • 1863: Henry Schneider starts brewery in Babytown.
  • 1863: Philip G Klappery founds brewery at the corner of Franklin Street and Twelfth Avenue.
  • 1863: Union Brewery is founded. Louis Rice purchases John Schueler’s brewery and renames it Union Brewery.
  • 1865: Olive Branch Brewery is founded by Joseph Jauch after he left Crescent City Brewery.
  • 1866: Franklin Brewery is purchased by Herman Wack after he left Crescent City Brewery.
  • 1866: Michael Stumpf and Ulrich Endres purchases John Emrich’s brewery and renames it Evansville Brewery.
  • 1867: Washington Brewery is founded by John Kroener (Fred’s son) after he left Old Brewery.
  • 1868: Fred and Charles Weber is purchased Franklin Brewery from Wack and is renamed the brewery, Fred Weber & Bro. 
  • 1869: Philip G. Klappert gives up brewing to become a grocer.
  • 1869: Washington Brewery closes.
  • 1869: Eagle Brewery closes.
  • 1869: Union Brewery closes.
  • 1870: Crescent City Brewery closes.
  • 1871: Olive Branch Brewery is destroyed by fire and closes.
  • 1873: Union Brewery land is purchased by the county.
  • 1875: Fred Kroener and Co begins selling bottled beer.
  • 1875: Western Brewery building is destroyed by fire.
  • 1876: John Hartmetz purchases the Babytown brewery, the name is changed to Hartmetz Brewery, but it was also known as Vanderburgh Brewery.
  • 1876: Evansville Brewery closes.
  • 1881: Fulton Avenue Brewery opens by Ulmer & Hoedt, across from the Old Brewery.
  • 1884: Old Brewery closes.
  • 1885: City Brewery is incorporated as F.W. Cook Brewing Company.
  • 1891: F.W. Cook Brewing Company is rebuilt after a fire.
  • 1891: Evansville Brewing Company/Evansville Brewery is opened by a group of men including Henry Wimberg.
  • 1894: Fulton Avenue Brewery, Hartmetz/Vanderburgh Brewery, Evansville Brewery joins Evansville Brewing Association; Henry Wimberg is made president.
  • 1910: F.W. Cook Brewing Company expands to include a new bottling house, stables, and a warehouse.
  • 1910: Hartmetz/Vanderburg/Babytown Brewery closes.
  • 1914: Evansville Brewery closes.
  • 1918: Indiana goes dry.
    • During this time the Evansville Brewing Association, operating as Sterling Products, makes ice and malt liquor to earn income.
  • 1920: Prohibition begins.
  • 1933: Prohibition ends.
  • 1933: Sterling Products is renamed Sterling Brewing, in order to get to producing beer as soon as possible.
  • 1935: William J Wittekindt Brewing Co. Inc is opened by Adolph Wittekindt and his son William.
  • 1937: Sterling builds a second brewery in Freeport, Illinois.
  • 1941: William J. Wittekindt Brewing Co. Inc closes because they “didn’t sell enough beer.”
  • 1957: F.W. Cook Brewing Company closes.
  • 1964: Sterling merges with Associated Brewing Company of Detroit.
  • 1972: Sterling becomes part of the G. Heilman Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
  • 1979: Homebrewing is legalized.
  • 1988: Sterling Brewery stops production.
  • 1988: Sterling becomes the Evansville Brewing Company
  • 1997: Evansville Brewing Company closes.
  • 2012: Tin Man Brewery opens on Franklin Street.
  • 2018: Tin Man closes.

If you want to learn more about brewing history currently being made, be sure to visit Carson’s Brewery, Haynie’s Corner Brewing Company, Damsel Brew Pub, Myriad Brewing Company, and Turoni’s Pizzery and Brewery. They all have excellent beer and even better stories of how they came to be! 

If you want to learn more about beer in Indiana, be sure to check out: 

Jennifer D.

Jennifer D.


Jennifer lives every week like it's shark week. She loves going on adventures, hanging out with her cat Holden Pawfield, quoting 30 Rock, and working at EVPL.

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