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Berghoff Brewery C. 1930
By Randy Harter
Fort Wayne Reader
The Berghoff brothers, Herman, Henry, Hurbert and Gustave arrived in Fort Wayne in the 1870’s and opened the Berghoff Brewery east of town in 1888.
The brothers later found their own niches with Herman moving to Chicago and opening the famed Berghoff Restaurant on Adams Street in 1898. Henry became the mayor of Fort Wayne and was one of the founders of the German-American Bank renamed during WWI (due to anti-German sentiment) as Lincoln National Bank. Gustav ran the brewery with the assistance of brother Hurbert and took the family into other local business ventures, not the least of which was Summit City Soap (Rub-No-More Soap) which he sold to Proctor & Gamble in the mid-1920’s, and Wayne Home Equipment manufacturers of Wayne Pumps, which is now part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway company.
During Prohibition (1920-1933) Berghoff bottled soda pop, with its number one seller being Bergo Root Beer. In 1954 the family sold the brewery to Falstaff Brewing of St. Louis who then poured several million dollars into refurbishing and updating the local plant. Alas, over 100 years since its inception, production ceased here in 1990 and the brewery closed. Some of the old brewery buildings remain on East Washington bounded by Glasgow and Grant Avenues, housing, among others, BergStaff Place (Berghoff-Falstaff) reception hall, Current Mechanical and the local branch of Habitat for Humanity.
(Image Courtesy ACPL)
Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian and author of two books on local history.