Falls City Brewing Company Records, 1905-1990
- Falls City Brewing Company Records, 1905-1990
- Falls City Brewing Company, 1905-1979
- 13.5 linear ft, 4 reels microfilm.
- University of Louisville
- Biography / History
- The following was found in the records of the Falls City Brewing Company, housed in the University of Louisville Archives. In 1978 the last batch of beer was brewed and in 1990 the company was sold to a St. Louis firm. Gone, but not forgotten is their "Billy Beer" named for President Jimmy Carter's brother Billy, a reputed beer lover. Found at the end of the histories is a student paper, Kindelsperger, Bren W. "The Impact of Automation on Falls City Brewery;" 1965.
- The Falls City Brewing Company was organized and incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware on April 17, 1905. Messrs. M. J. Hickey, Theodore Evers, and Ben H. Schrader, who each then operated a tavern and retail grocery business, together with Mr. F. C. Toelle of Detroit, Michigan and Mr. E. R. Bathrick of Akron, Ohio, both professional organizers, banded together to organize the Falls City Brewing Company by securing subscriptions for stock in the proposed company from citizens of Louisville, and particularly from persons engaged then in the retail tavern business.
- A great need was felt in the city of Louisville for an independent brewing company. Some of the larger brewers had combined into one company, known as the Central Consumers Company, so, with the exception of a few small common beer breweries, there remained but one source of supply for lager beer. Then too, the Central Consumers Company were owners of a large number of corner business houses located in such neighborhoods where taverns could be operated profitably. The brewer, acting as landlord and supplier at that time, caused the tavern keeper to be more or less at it's mercy. From this it will be seen that the time was ripe for the organization of another independent lager beer brewery.
- Tavern keepers and other well known reputable citizens of Louisville very readily subscribed to the stock in the proposed company. On May 22, 1905, the following men were elected as members of the Board of Directors in the new company:
- and from this Board of Directors, on May 25, 1905, the following Officers were elected:
- On July 6, 1905, ground was purchased on which the proposed brewery was to be erected on Broadway, between the K. & I. Railroad's right of way, and 31st Street, and on July 27, 1905, a master brewer by the name of Otto Doerr was employed to act as Brewmaster and to then supervise the erection of the brewery building and the installation of it's machinery.
- A small Ice House was built in connection with the brewery. Since refrigeration was necessary for the brewery cellars, ice was a natural by-product of the industry. The ice was sold to peddlers, who operated their own routes in the western part of the city. The Falls City Brewing Company has continued to sell ice up to the present day, having twice enlarged its Ice Houses, and in addition to selling to peddlers, operates its own independent routes, making deliveries to the homes, taverns and stores.
- On November 17, 1906, the first draught beer was ready for delivery to he Louisville taverns. The Company operated only in Louisville during the first years of its existence, and due to the many obsticles with which it was confronted, it did only a fair business, and it had only been operating several months when the need for a Bottling Department was foreseen to meet competition with the bottled beer brewed in Louisville, and also that was shipped in. Consequently, on June 11, 1907, ground was purchased on the north side of Broadway, immediately across from the brewery building, for the erection of a Bottling Department, so early in the spring of 1908 the Falls City Brewing Company was on the market in the Louisville area with bottled beer. Later, the bottled beer was shipped to a few points in southern Indiana.
- In November, 1905, Mr. Joseph Pirrman and Mr. Frank Ziegler were elected to the Board of Directors of the Falls City Brewing Company to take the place made vacant by the resignation of the professional organizers, Mr. Toelle and Mr. Bathrick.
- During the first years of its operation, deliveries were made with horses and wagons. In 1911 the Company purchased a five ton Morgan truck and a one and one-half ton auto car, and there was great rivalry amongst the drivers as to who would be chosen to drive these two new trucks.
- In 1911 Mr. Joseph Pirrman died, and Mr. William Peter was elected to the Board of Directors.
- From 1908 to 1911 the Company was only fairly successful in its operation since it was handicapped with not having sufficient capital to avail itself of profitable purchases, both in materials and real estate. Then too, the Central Consumers Company, its chief competitor, was a power in the city. During these years things looked blue for the little company; to such an extent that in November of 1911 the Central Consumers Company propositioned Mr. M. J. Hickey, president of the Falls City Brewing Company, to sell out the Company to them. On December 15, 1911, a Special Meeting of the stockholders was called to consider this proposition. The Meeting, which started early in the afternoon of December 15th, lasted close until midnight. A number of heated debates took place and the loyal stockholders fought to retain their little Company.
- At this Meeting an amendment was also made to the By-Laws that twelve Directors be elected. Consequently, at the next annual Meeting of the stockholders, held on May 15, 1912, the following men were elected:
- At a Meeting held on May 21, 1912, Mr. Theodore Evers was elected president of the Company, Mr. A. J. Dresel Vice President, Mr. Ben H. Schrader Secretary, and Mr. Herman Roehr Treasurer. With this newly elected Board, the Company took on new life and operated very successfully; paid dividends to its stockholders each year, and in 1919, when prohibition was forced on the United States, the Falls City Brewing Company was in a position to pay off its stockholders dollar for dollar. The days to come after prohibition looked anything but bright, to such an extent that the majority of the stockholders paid off could not decide whether they wanted to purchase stock in an anticipated new company to be organized by several of the old stockholders, who were even now dickering to purchase the plant and equipment of the Falls City Brewing Company.
- At a Meeting held on June 25, 1919, Mr. Ben H. Schrader, Secretary of the Falls City Brewing Company, reported that a sufficient number of stockholders had subscribed and paid in more than 2,500 shares of stock to a new organization to be known as the Falls City Ice and Beverage Company, since it was doubtful, under the fanatical Volstead law, whether the word brewery could be used after July 1, 1919. On this same day, Mr. George F. Korfhage reported that he had put in a bid and had purchased the entire plant and machinery of the Falls City Brewing Company, and was now ready, at any time, to turn the deed of conveyance of the said property over to the Falls City Ice and Beverage Company. Also on this same day a Meeting was held of the stockholders who had subscribed to the new company. Articles of incorporation were read as they had been filed, and a Board of Directors elected, consisting of:
- or practically the same Board last elected in the old Falls City Brewing Company. Mr. Theodore Evers was elected President, Mr. A. J. Dresel Vice President, Mr. Ben H. Schrader Secretary, and Mr. Herman Roehr Treasurer.
- On January 26, 1921, Mr. Theodore Evers asked the Board to be relieved of the office of President, as he wanted to retire from active business. With much reluctance the Board accepted, and Mr. Ben H. Schrader was elected to the office of President. Mr. A. J. Dresel resigned as Vice President and Mr. John T. Drane was elected Vice President. The office of Secretary and Treasurer was combined, and Mr. Herman Roehr was elected to this office. The members of the Board prevailed upon Mr. Evers to act in the capacity of Chairman of the Board. This office was created, and Mr. Evers accepted same. Mr. John T. Drane, Vice President, died on April 19, 1924, and Mr. Charles W. Bornwasser was elected Vice President. Mr. Herman Roehr died on November 21, 1926, and Mr. George F. Korfhage was elected Secretary and Treasurer on November 23, 1926. Mr. George F. Korfhage died on June 27, 1929, and the Board of Directors prevailed on Mr. Evers to accept the office of Secretary and Treasurer, but he stated that he would accept the office but did not care to be actively engaged in the business. Consequently, Miss Lillian G. Madden was appointed to the office of Assistant Secretary to carry on the active work of Mr. Evers. Mr. Evers died on August 18, 1934, still in the office of Secretary and Treasurer.* In August of 1934, Mr. Charles W. Bornwasser, Vice President, was then elected to the office of Secretary and Treasurer, and Mr. A. J. Dresel succeeded Mr. Bornwasser as Vice President. On January 23, 1935 Mr. A. R. Kirk and Miss Lillian G. Madden were elected Directors of the Falls City Brewing Company. On August 15, 1936, Mr. Ben H. Schrader died, and on August 25, 1936, Mr. Charles W. Bornwasser was elected to the office of President and Miss Lillian G. Madden was elected to the office of Secretary and Treasurer. In November, 1936, Mr. George M. Goetz, Jr. was elected to the Board of Directors of the Falls City Brewing Company.
- Mr. Fred Michael died on February 20, 1939, and Mr. Raymond J. Haragan was elected to the Board of Directors on May 23, 1939.
- The present Board of Directors is as follows:
- The present Officers are:
- From July of 1919 until April of 1933 the Falls City Ice and Beverage Company, under the able management of its Board of Directors and Officers, operated successfully in the ice business, a complete line of soft drinks, and brewed and bottled a cereal beverage of national fame. The success of the Falls City Ice and Beverage Company during this period was phenominal. From year to year new buildings were erected and the most modern equipment purchased. Many breweries during this period were forced out of business; so much so that when prohibition was repealed in 1933 there were only approximately ten breweries on the ground and ready to go to bat with the manufacture of beer. The Falls City Ice and Beverage Company being one of these was very fortunate, and the demand for their beer was wide-spread; so much so that the supply had to be rationed. In 1934 the name of the Falls City Ice and Beverage Company was again changed back to the Falls City Brewing Company.
- From 1933 up to the present time more than $1,000,000.00 has been put in plant buildings and equipment, and in 1934 the Falls City Brewing Company ereeted a new office building costing approximately $50,000.00. This building is an ornament to the residential district in which it is erected. Few corporation have enjoyed the success of the Falls City Brewing Company.
- The Company in the beginning sold its beer only locally, but during prohibition shipped its cereal beverage to all the surrounding states; so much so that with the return of beer the old distributors of the cereal beverage prevailed upon the Company to appoint them distributors of beer. The Company now ships its beer into the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
- We have often heard it said that competition is the life of trade, and this is clearly denonstrated in the case of the Falls City Brewing Company, who was handicapped by powerful competition from 1911 to 1919, and struggled to keep going. However, by hard work and honest management it has gone ahead with flying colors.
- Scope and Content
- The Fall City Brewing Company, 1905-1979, Records; 1905-1990, are arranged in five series: Series I. Annual and quarterly reports, 1978-90; Series II. Stockholders meetings and minutes, 1905-1990; Series III. Legal documents, including articles of incorporation and dissolution; Series IV. Financial and Personnel records, 1913-1982; and Series V. Advertising and Promotional records. This last series constitutes the largest part of the collection and is divided into the following subseries - Scrapbooks; Marketing Studies; Visuals - slides, film, and photos; Tour information; Sponsored events, and audio recordings. A detailed list of photographs is attached at the end of the box listing.
Contents of the Collection
I Annual and Quarterly Reports; 1978-1990
II Stockholder's Meetings/Minutes; 1905-1990
1. Stockholder's Meeting, Invitations (1973, 1975-1990) and Miscellaneous
2. Minutes--April 11, 1905-May 10, 1906
3. Minutes--June 9, 1908-August 21, 1914
4. Minutes--June 25, 1919-January 22, 1930
5. Minutes--February 18, 1930-December 31, 1936
6. Minutes--March 1937-July 1946
1. Minutes--August 1946-December 1952
2. Minutes--January 1953-September 1956
3. Minutes--October 1956-June 1960
4. Minutes--July 1960-December 1963
5. Minutes--January 1964-December 1966
6. Minutes--January 1967-December 1969
1. Minutes--January 1970-December 1972
2. Minutes--January 1963-December 1975
3. Minutes--January 1976-December 1978
4. Minutes--January 1979-December 1981
5. Minutes--January 1982-December 1984
6. Minutes--January 1985-December 1987
III Legal documents
1. Articles of incorporation
2. Articles of dissolution
3. Labor contracts
4. S. E. C. reports
5. Legal documents
6. Correspondence--Vanco case (U. S. Supreme Court)
7. Legal documents--Vanco case (U. S. Supreme Court)
IV Financial and Personnel records
8. Stock certificates--1934-1938
1. Scrapbook--Newspaper clippings--stock reports--1954-1964
- Box 5
2. Bank notes--Nineteenth Century
3. Financial reports--1913-1917
4. Financial reports--1918-1924
5. Financial reports--1925-1930
6. Literature Control Service--post-1982 financial studies
7. Sta-Tab information--1976
Plant Profiles/Closing Material
13. James Tate--personal
14. Fle-Sre-Net (James Tate's outside business file)
15. Employees' register--July 1916-August 1930
16. Employees' register--August 1930-July 1936
17. Employees' register--July 1936-November 1944
18. Employees' register--November 1944-December 1977
1. Scrapbook--Newspaper advertisements 1939-1941
2. Scrapbook--Newspaper advertisements--1936-1937
3. Scrapbook--Photographs 1946-1957; contains: a) packet--duplicate photographs, b) packet--Obsolete…
4. Scrapbook--Printed materials for advertisements: a) newspaper advertisements, b) cards, c…
5. Newspaper clippings
Slides, film, photos
1. Carousel slide tray with slides--Brewery Tour Film
2. Film--"Mack's Boat, Miami"
3. 16mm film--"Wallace Berry and Ben Turpin Home Library Series"
4. 16mm film--"Wilson presents gags--Wilson's trick excellence (1938-?)--S. Phillip photographs"
5. Box with film--Christmas sales--Meetings--1952-59
6. 16mm film--"Falls City sponsored baseball team (?)"
7. Slides--incomplete brewery tour film--July 1975
8. 16mm film (black and white)--scenes from 1935--Brewery--removed from larger reel
9. 35mm slides--Brewery--1971
10. Color slides--Billy Beer--Nov. 1977 (?)
11. Loose film canisters that read as follows: a) "1961 Falls City Christmas sales meeting strip…
12. Color transparencies--"Malt Bins from Tube turns--July 1973"
13. 35mm slides--"Brewhouse addition in 1971--showing installation of new tanks"
14. Color film--"Brewery from outside in daylight; Hop Wilson--personal"
15. 35 mm slides--Brewery tours circa 1971
16. Color slides--"University of Florida"--Nov. 1977 (?)
17. 16mm film--Newsreel
18. 16mm film--Safety Film: "Wild Animals of Africa"
19. 16mm film--"Group outing--193?--Charlotte"
20. 16mm--Uncle Tom's Cabin
21. 16mm--"Falls City Ice and Beverage Co.--1935-36 (?)--#1 Brewing and Office"
22. 16mm--Falls City Ice and Beverage Co.--1935-36 (?)--#2 Bottling, Boxcar loading, and River-bus…
23. Color transparencies--"Brewery '60"
24. Color slides--a) "Billy, Ed, truck, autographs", b) "Billy and Sybil, Jim and Helen Tate, Mark…
1. Film--"Outdoor Noon Spectacles--1939 (?)--Hop Wilson family (personal)"
2. Film--"Bowman Field--Eastern Airlines; Great Film Fleet--Hop Wilson; Haesley's Cafe…
3. Film--"Florida in color"
4. Film--"Falls City Christmas T.V.: 80 answer print--October 22, 1971; 20 and 10 see answer print…
5. Carousel slide tray with slides--Brewery tour film "J"
1. Binder of information on the 1974-75 Super Pops season of the Louisville Orchestra sponsored by…
1. 33 1/3 rpm record--"The Fleischmann Malting Co. presents Highlights of Brewing History"
2. Film roll--"More cases with Casey--1958"
3. Unmarked film roll
1. 33 1/3 rpm record--"The Fleischmann Malting Co. presents Highlights of Brewing History"
3. unmarked film roll
1. 33 1/3 rpm records (11)--Falls City Beer advertising spots for radio--1965, 1967-69
- Box 11
Miscellaneous promotional material/1905 and 1937 cornerstone material
- Box 12
Promotional or Commercial Material
1. Promotional Photo of dining room, white patrons, black waiters. No negative or date but probably…
2. Advertising card showing horse drawn Falls City beer wagon. No negative or date (In larger photo…
3. Commercial printed advertising cards showing the history of beer through the ages. No negative or…
- Box 1, folder 1