After more than a year of preparation and sweat, Logansport native Brandon Barron is nearing completion on Logansport Brewing Co. — a new brewery and pub located near Third Street and Eel River Avenue at the former Shrimp King restaurant — returning the city to its beer-brewing roots. The brewery opened Monday while final touches are still being completed. A soft opening celebration is scheduled for Friday, June 7 and will feature live music.
Logansport's beer history began in 1889 on High Street in downtown Logansport when John Mutschler, a German immigrant and brew master, started Logansport Brewing Co. While there had been other, smaller brewing operations in Logansport, the High Street location is the best known and lasted the longest.
Logansport Brewing Co. was managed by president Eugene Prager until 1895. After defaulting over municipal disputes with the city, Columbia Brewery Co. took over as general managers of the location from 1895 to 1920. They would pour pints of beer for as little as 75 cents.
Columbia Brewing Co. operated the business up until 1920, when Prohibition put a halt to the beer trade. However, Columbia Brewing Co. could still be found listed in the city directory under “soft drinks.”
Fourteen years later, a banker from Chicago, K.G. Schmidt, bought the brewery and created the city's first lager.
Barron said he had been reading decades-old news archives and grew fascinated with the brewery’s backstory. He then launched social media pages along with online fundraisers to help generate interest and capital while working out leasing options.
“I’m huge into history,” Barron said. He holds an Indiana State University degree in social studies.
Now 65 years after Schmidt's closed down, brewing is starting up once again — and once again, along the Eel River. Barron said it’s a goal of his to stay true to Logansport’s history.
“I’ve brought all of the historical memorabilia in here, but the owners have done everything else,” Barron said. “They’ve done a tremendous job in designing this place.”
Barron added the location originally served as a gas station in the 1930s before it was converted to Firestone Tire. Firestone Grill later opened on the site, followed by the short-lived Shrimp King.
Barron’s plan is to put the brewpub on the first floor, where he hopes to produce more than 750 barrels per year while serving appetizers and burgers. All of the food served will be sourced locally.
The second floor will serve as an event section that can be reserved by parties — also doubling as extra seating for the brewpub.
For the soft opening on Friday, Logansport Brewing Co. will host musical performances and serve food and a taste of a couple different brews. Barron anticipates it will be another month or two before his grand opening.
Barron, who has been home-brewing for a few years, said the brewery will have a few staples including a Hefeweizen originally brewed in 1890 — Edelweiss, the first brew ever made by Logansport Brewing Co.
The brewpub will also feature an IPA called “Devil’s Dip,” named after a steep valley north of Logansport. Additionally, it will feature “Logan Brew,” a Columbia Brewing Co. original.
Barron said his family has strong ties to the Logansport area, and because of this, he is dedicated to the community.
“We are 100 percent pro-Logansport,” Barron emphasized. “I have set aside a certain amount of profits quarterly that I’m going to give back to the city. I want to help Logansport as much as possible.”
Barron added that, depending on weather, the brewery will host outdoor events in the summer months along the river.
He has been in communication with industry professionals to discuss setting up a “Midwest Brew Fest.” While the concept is still in the planning stages, Barron believes Logansport Brewing Co.’s location and river frontage would be the perfect location for a beer festival.
“Midwest Brew Fest will be a great way to introduce craft beer to our area,” Barron stated. “It’s a win-win situation — these local brewers benefit from improved business visibility and our city will profit from the event itself.”
Barron hopes to see Midwest Brew Fest come to fruition next summer.
Reach Quentin Blount at email@example.com or 574-732-5130.
IF YOU GO
What: Logansport Brewing Co.
Where: 27 S. 3rd St., in the rear of the building on the Eel River Ave. side
Regular hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Details: A soft opening celebration in scheduled for Friday, June 7, from 4-10 p.m. with live music, food and two brews ready to serve