Hoosier Beer – the book

It’s a fait accompli. The fourth recent book about beer in Indiana is out. Hoosier Beer – Tapping into Indiana Brewing History doesn’t so much look at beer, but the breweries. Mainly the old breweries.

Indiana became a state in 1816 and in that year our first two commercial breweries opened. Since then over 350 licensed breweries have offered cool, refreshing beer to Hoosiers, made by Hoosiers. 200 years of history.

Hoosier Beer chronicles, city by city, the rise from small family backyard breweries to large factory breweries to their demise as massive mega-conglomerates. It also covers the modern era of brewpubs and the return of the small family-owned breweries that offer a wide variety of beers directly to customers fresh at the brewery.

Meanwhile two (!) prohibition periods pitted temperance and religious groups against the industry in a fight that always depended on who owned the Indiana statehouse.

As the state grew with a large German population beer headed to lagers but lots of ales were available also. Population shifts, a few wars, better transportation, cooling, bottling, canning, understanding yeast, all contributed to this story.

256 pages, 128 illustrations, $21.99 publisher's suggested price. Published by The History Press.

Your humble servant, Bob Ostrander wrote the words and collector of Indiana breweriana, Derrick Morris supplied the illustrations and tons of resources from his 9,000-artifact basement museum.

It’s been three years in the making; beginning with an online history at the B.I.G. website which was moved to IndianaBeer.com. This will soon go away, replaced by the book and an extensive addenda support website, www.HoosierBeerStory.com.

We expect Hoosier Beer to be a historical reference for the next poor idiots who are interested in the writing about the subject.

Jeff Eaton, owner of Barley Island, proofread the book and gave it this quote:

“Bob Ostrander & Derrick Morris have provided us a detailed journey through the rich heritage and tradition of brewing beer in Indiana.

“The beer memorabilia including the fascinating pictures of actual cans and bottles displays the inherent pride these Hoosier brewers possessed in their brands.

“The figures on number of breweries and their barrel production will surprise you and it all leads to the final chapter on the Modern Era with the current rebirth in Indiana-produced craft beer!”

Want to buy one? Come to a book signing. The first will be Thurs, August 11th, at the Black Swan Brewpub in Plainfield followed by one at Bookmamas on the 13th in the Irvington area of Indy.

We’re adding a Pub Quiz to the book signing. Should be a good party. Hope to see you on the 11th.

Thursday, August 31st we’ll do it again at New Albanian's Public House.

We’ll keep you up to date on the IndianaBeer calendar.

Through September October we’ll have signings and Pub Quizzes at pubs or brewpubs in The Region (Beer Geeks Pub), South Bend (Fiddler's Hearth), Fort Wayne (Mad Anthony), Lafayette (Lafayette Brewing), Kokomo (Half Moon), Muncie, Columbus (Power House / Columbus Bar), Bloomington (Bloomington Brewing), Evansville (Turoni's). None of these have confirmed dates yet. Look to the IndianaBeer calendar for one near you.

Amazon and Beerbooks.com (which has the lowest price at $16.88 + $4 shipping) have it.

The Book Depository and Borders have it in their online catalog but aren’t shipping yet.

We’ve talked to some independent stores and so far we’ve heard back from Bookmamas in Indy, Village Lights in Madison, and Destinations Booksellers in New Albany that they will carry it as soon as they get their shipments.

If you’d like to buy copies to sell at your pub
please contact The History Press
- 843-577-5971 x 213.

Here are some stories you'll read about in this history:

  • A farm brewery was part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and a speakeasy and bordello during Prohibition (Hoham/Klinghammer in Plymouth).
  • A large brewery’s life was ended due to a labor strike (F.W. Cook’s in Evansville).
  • One brewery was part of a utopian colony (New Harmony), and one was part of an Archabbey (Saint Meinrad).
  • One brewery recovered from $3,000 debt in 1881 (Joseph Miller in Covington). Another brewery’s owner, when faced with a $5,000 debt in 1889, committed suicide (Main Street Brewery in New Albany).
  • Several were in the back rooms of inns and hotels—early examples of brewpubs.
  • One brewery bought the local newspaper in order to change its editorial stance during a temperance campaign (Indiana Brewing Association in Marion).
  • Some breweries were related to famous people, including Hew Ainslie, Tony Hulman, Richard Lieber, Cole Porter, Knute Rockne, Howard Hawks, Governor Robert Orr and Kurt Vonnegut.
  • A brewery and distillery company started a city’s fire department (Great Crescent in Aurora).
  • Many breweries were taken over and managed by the widows of the owners, and some were started and operated by women.
  • One brewery paid its sales manager $108,000 per year during Prohibition (Kiley in Marion).
  • One brewery piped water from its spring to neighbors during the Civil War—and even built a bathhouse (Spring Brewery in Lafayette).
  • One came to an ignominious end when the president was arrested for income tax evasion after the ex-commissioner of the IRS got a $363,000 tax bill reduced to a $35,000 refund (Indianapolis Brewing Co.).
  • Many brewery buildings have gone on to other uses, including shopping malls, college classrooms, apartments and office buildings.
  • The first brewery in Fort Wayne, at the American Fur Trading Company post, was started by Alexis Coquillard, the founder of South Bend.
  • Brewery owners were jailed for selling bootleg beer during Prohibition. One was given probation because people would be put out of work (Huntington Brewery). One owner was jailed for bribing federal Prohibition agents (Southern Indiana Brewing Company in New Albany).
  • Breweries owned or sponsored minor-league and Negro League baseball teams. One sponsored the Notre Dame football team (Kamm’s in Mishawaka).
  • One brewery was built specifically to entice settlers in the 1850s to buy land in a new community (Cephas Hawks in Waterford).
  • One brewery closed three days before winning a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival (Evansville Brewing Co.).
  • Many were started by immigrants to the United States from Belgium, England, France, Germany, Scotland and Switzerland.
  • One “Brew on Premises” was set up where anyone over twenty-one could brew his or her own beer. (Just Brew It in Mishawaka)
  • Dozens of brewery owners served as mayors, bank presidents or congressmen.
  • A surprising number of breweries burned down—some multiple times. One man (Charles T. Doxey of Anderson) had a brewery, a barrel stave factory, an opera house, a handle factory, a music hall and a plate glass works destroyed by fire while he was a state senator, a U.S. representative and running for governor.
  • One brewery opened a famous restaurant in Chicago that is still operating (Berghoff in Fort Wayne).
  • One brewery was owned by a pipe organ builder (Louis van Dinter in Mishawaka).
  • Three modern-era breweries were opened by doctors.
  • Inventions from Indiana led to the modern CO2 regulator, beer line cleaning equipment and corn-adjunct beers.
  • The largest of the old-line breweries made over one million barrels (bbls) of beer annually (a barrel is sixty-one gallons; Sterling, Drewrys and Falstaff).
  • The largest of the modern-era breweries has a capacity of about fifteen thousand bbls (Three Floyds).

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