1837: TERRE HAUTE BREWING COMPANY IS BORN
Chauncey Warren and Demas Deming Sr. opened the brewery that would eventually become Terre Haute Brewing Company (THBC).
1869-1889: EXPANSION YEARS
The plant was leased, sold, and eventually bought outright by Anton Mayer, a German immigrant and former brewmaster. Anton expanded the facility, which came to occupy two blocks at Poplar and 9th Streets in Terre Haute, with a production capacity of 2,500 BBL.
In 1878, bottling capabilities were established and a new brewhouse was completed across the street. By 1880, a total of 30,000 barrels were produced annually. The brewery was sold in 1889 to Crawford Fairbanks and John Beggs. It was at this point in time when THBC was first incorporated.
1892-1902: THBC BECOMES SEVENTH LARGEST
Terre Haute Brewing Company became the seventh largest brewery in the United States, producing 100,000 barrels per year. Brewmaster Walter Braun created a lager named Champagne Velvet (CV), which quickly became the flagship beer of the company.
1910: THE CROSSROADS OF AMERICA
THBC further expanded, covering three city blocks and hiring 250 employees. The city of Terre Haute itself became a wild place, being referred to as “Sin City,” as it was known for its betting houses, saloons and brothels – which were often frequented by Chicago’s mobsters.
1918-1933: PROHIBITION YEARS
During the era of Prohibition, the brewing company changed its name to Terre Haute C.V. Company. Under this new name and image, they produced a non-alcoholic version of Champagne Velvet (a cereal beverage) and their own root beer. Eventually, the restrictions of Prohibition forced the brewery to suspend operations in 1928 and its assets were sold. Crawford Fairbanks died in 1924.
1934: A WHOLE NEW BEGINNING
Oscar Baur, a Terre Haute native, purchased the facility in 1933 and Terre Haute Brewing Company reopened after Prohibition ended on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1934. A parade led the celebration as bands played a march that was specially written for the occasion, fittingly titled: “Champagne Velvet March.”
The company grew to employ 900 people and produce 1.5 million barrels of beer per year. By the end of its first year in production, Champagne Velvet was available in 19 states.
1935–1940: NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION
By 1935, THBC was producing 202,000 barrels of beer and selling it in 48 states via the largest bottling line ever constructed. Brewmaster John Blohme celebrated an annual capacity of over 400,000 barrels per year by 1936.
Additionally, Champagne Velvet was the first canned beer to be produced from Terre Haute Brewing Company – with a $1,000,000 flavor protection insurance policy printed on the side panel!
1952–1990: UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
Oscar Baur died in 1952 and his son, Edward Baur took over – renaming it back to Terre Haute Brewing Company. In 1958, ownership changed (again) and the Champagne Velvet trademarks were sold and moved to Chicago. The buildings in Terre Haute remained standing.
1990–2016: TRANSITIONING TO MODERN TIMES
In 1990, Terre Haute resident Mike Rowe found a 1902 document written by Walter Braun that contained most of the recipe for Champagne Velvet. Several years later, he opened a new Terre Haute Brewing Co., in the original building. Production ended in 2006.
The Champagne Velvet recipe and rights were sold to Indiana’s Upland Brewing Company in 2012. Terre Haute Brewing Company, and its original building, were bought in June 2015, where it went through renovations until mid-2016. The doors reopened to the public in May 2016.
TODAY: MODERN NEW CRAFT BREWERY
THBC is bringing the historic significance – along with quality, locally-sourced beer – back to one of its original facilities. As one of the original nine commercial breweries in the U.S., and the second oldest operating brewing, current brewmasters incorporate many local ingredients as well as references to the Terre Haute heritage in our beers. We are creating craft beers with the best of today’s craftiest brewers, as well as classic styles true to their roots.
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