Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company
Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company By Pete Bill, TCHA Board President
While I was watching television, up popped yet another Ancestry.com commercial promoting the personal ways in which individuals have traced back their family lineage. What piqued my interest in this particular commercial was the person’s name who was giving the personal testimony: David Thieme.
David Thieme is the 6th generation Thieme associated with the Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company that was considered to be a state-of-the-art brewing factory in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company history in Tippecanoe County goes way back to its founding in Lafayette in 1863 at the corner of 4th and Union Streets, and has been a part of this community in one iteration or another ever since. Even with the passage of Indiana State legislation making Indiana a “dry” state in April, 1918, Thieme & Wagner turned to fruit juice and low-alcohol content legal drinks.
Glass bottles with Thieme & Wagner embossing or labels can be found in most antique shops in the area. And many photographs of the huge brewery can be found in the archives of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association. Walt Griffin, a TCHA Board member, is an avid collector of brewery memorabilia and always willing to talk with folks with an interest in the history of Tippecanoe County breweries.
Specifically, the Ancestry.com advertisement tells the tale of how the original recipe for the Thieme & Wagner Bock Beer was lost when the brewery stopped producing beer due to Indiana prohibition law in 1918. But by tracing his roots back to Germany from where Frederick A. Thieme and John H. Wagner came, David was able to find the original beer recipe and incorporate it into the offerings served at the Thieme & Wagner Bar Front located at 652 Main Street in Lafayette.
For additional information on the Thieme and Wagner brewery history, visit the local history library located in the Arganbright Genealogy Center.
The following links tell more about the history and the new establishment.
Link to the “ispot.tv” address that contains the Ancestry.com advertisement.
Thieme & Wagner Bar Front Facebook page
WLFI.com article on the brewery
Article from the Journal & Courier