Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
With $25,000 in capital stock issued, the Home Brewing Co. incorporated on March 21, 1913. William Rittmayer, Joseph Bellm, William Wilhelmy and Walter Wilhelmy were the brewing company’s officers. Praise for this new industry was penned in the Avalanche Echo newspaper. This enthusiasm transferred to the community at large where the town’s businessmen and prominent citizens purchased shares in this promising new venture.
Ground for the new plant was immediately broken near the Colorado Midland Railway tracks west of Pitkin Avenue, near today’s Bolitho Elementary School. The Wilhelmys brought with them brewing experience gleaned from a German brewing academy. Beer, nonalcoholic maltose and maltose extracts were to be produced by the Home Brewing Co. Distribution was planned to communities located across the Western Slope.
Production began in 1913, and in February 1914, the grand opening of the Home Brewing Co.’s saloon at 708 Grand Ave. treated patrons to a free lunch and free glass of beer.
The Home Brewing Co. advertised theirs as the “best beer ever sold in Glenwood.” However, producing the best beer did not keep catastrophe from striking the company. Colorado voters ratified state prohibition in 1914, making Colorado a dry state beginning Jan. 1, 1916. The company could only produce alcoholic beverages for one more year.
Another setback came on Jan. 15, 1915, when a fire was spotted in the plant’s malt and bran storage areas located in the building’s upper floor. As the flames lighted the night sky, firemen extinguished the blaze. An investigation determined faulty wiring as the cause.
Insurance repaired the brewery; however, more trials came. In June 1915, a U.S. revenue officer destroyed more than 600 kegs of beer because the company had not paid revenue taxes.
As 1915 closed, so did the Home Brewing Co. “The best beer ever sold in Glenwood” was no more.
“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.
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