Time line: Brewing in Belleville

News-DemocratJanuary 25, 2014 

As Belleville celebrates its bicentennial this year, a microbrewer plans to bring beer making back to a town that historically was home to a number of breweries. However, there hasn't been a brewery in town since Stag Beer closed its operations in 1988. Here are some highlights of Belleville's brewing history:

1832

Jacob Fleischbein founded Belleville's first brewery.

1840s

Simon Eimer established the Washington Brewery, which was described as the largest brewery west of the Allegheny Mountains.

1851

Philip Neu and Peter Gintz found a small brewery in west Belleville. Using wells located on the property, the brewery's 12 employees produced 2,000 barrels of beer a year, which was sold in the Belleville and East St. Louis areas.

1860

Seven breweries were operating in Belleville.

1875

Five breweries are operating in Belleville.

1881

Adam Gintz took sole ownership of the brewery founded by Neu and Peter Gintz. He named it the Western Brewery Co. It employed 25 people and produced 20,000 barrels of Kaiser brand beer a year.

1912

Henry Louis Griesedieck bought the Western Brewery and started producing a new beer called Stag.

1920

All commercial brewing is halted by Prohibition. The Western Brewery, now known as the Griesedieck Western Brewery Co., switched from making beer to the production of near beer, root beer, soda water and ice.

1933

Prohibition is repealed.

1954

Carling Brewing Co. of Cleveland purchases Stag Brewery. More than 600 people worked at the Belleville brewery and Carling was the 13th largest brewer in the country.

1958

Star-Peerless Brewery closes, leaving Stag Brewery as the lone brewery in Belleville. Oldtimer and Sternbrau were produced by Star-Peerless.

1979

Carling Brewing Co. shuts down Stag Brewery. The brewery is sold and reopened four months later by G. Heileman Brewing Co. of LaCrosse, Wis.

1988

Stag Brewery closes. Heileman announced in February that it would close the Belleville brewery to streamline its operations. The last case of brew, not Stag but Kingsbury Beer, rolled off the production line in September.

2014

Todd Kennedy plans to open Main Street Brewing Co. at 4204 W. Main St.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat archives

 

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