Edward W. Herman


Information on Edward W. Herman
of Louisville, KY

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Web posted Saturday, February 13, 1999


  Augusta Brewing Company label


Brewery brought taste to Augusta, Ga.
Story from The Augusta Chronicle

By Bill Babb
Outdoor Editor

"...The odor was most delightful to those who liked to sip their brew; that it sorely tempted those `on the water wagon' to get off again forthwith; and that, to the olfactory faculties of all-out `Bone Dry' Prohibitionists, it was an outright abomination."

So wrote the late Augusta historian Earl L. Bell, former telegraph editor of The Augusta Chronicle, in "Remember Belle of Georgia?" in the 1970 winter issue of Augusta Magazine.

Mr. Bell was recounting experiences of his youth when beer was being boiled at Augusta Brewing Co. "Belle of Georgia" was its top brand. This one took place during the early 1900s before state and later national prohibition forced the company into bankruptcy.

The brewery owed its existence to Patrick Walsh (1840-1899), who was editor and/or president of The Augusta Chronicle from 1873-99. Had there been such an organization as a chamber of commerce, Mr. Walsh probably would have headed it.

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Augusta Brewing Company Belle of Georgia ad in Augusta Herald early in the 20th century.

As it happened, "a few gentlemen, wishing to build a brewery in the South, after visiting a few cities finally came to Augusta where they met the late Mr. Walsh, who since has served his city in the United States Senate and as mayor." This was the lead paragraph about the brewery in 100 Years of Brewing published in 1903, four years after Mr. Walsh's death.

Brothers-in-law August J. Schweers, a Cincinnati native, and Edward W. Herman of Louisville, Ky., likely were among those who met with Mr. Walsh in the mid-1880s.

Mr. Herman had served in the Union Army during the Civil War and after returning from service in the spring of 1865, became associated with Kentucky Malt & Grain Co., founded in 1861 in Louisville. He rose to become a partner and by 1874 had formed E.W. Herman & Co.

On July 8, 1888, The Chronicle reported that "...the brewery will be located near Clark's Flouring Mill." The next day, a headline noted that "Mr. Herman About to Begin Work Upon a $50,000 Brewery Plant."

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Edward W. Herman, founder of the Augusta Brewing Company

Augusta officials had begun work on the city's first National Exposition when preliminary construction work began on the brewery.

"The brewery which Mr. Herman will establish here will be on the same solid basis as his other establishments (in Louisville and Knoxville, Tenn.), and it is probable that by the time Exposition crowds fill Augusta, Mr. Herman will be ready to fill them with ice cold beer fresh from Augusta's own brewery," The Chronicle reported.

"The brewery plant will add new life and bustle to the manufacturing section of the city, and will be in plain view of the crowds who go back and forth from the Exposition grounds -- a solid example of Augusta's new industries," the article concluded.

Mr. Herman, Mr. Scheers and J.H. Pank, who was secretary of E.W. Herman & Co., petitioned Richmond County Superior Court to incorporate the firm. The company began business with $50,000 in capital stock divided into shares of $100 each. The charter was granted on Oct. 16, 1888, by Judge H.C. Roney for 20 years with an option to renew.

Construction was not completed in time to quench the thirst of the Exposition crowd. Still, The Chronicle noted on Nov. 8, 1888, "The Augusta Brewing Company, though not yet in operation, will have a very creditable exhibit" at the Exposition.

The brewery finally opened its doors on Feb. 7, 1889, at McKinne (13th), Fenwick and Nelson streets. The telephone number was 5.

In 1896, bold white letters more than 10 feet high spelled out "Belle of Georgia," which was to become the company's flagship brew. Other brands such as "Dixie" and "Belle of Carolina" followed, but "Belle of Georgia" was on everyone's lips, or else trickling down thirsty throats.

A combination office-bottling plant was added on property adjacent to the brewery. Behind that building were stables for mules and horses that drew the delivery wagons. Insurance maps of the time also showed a wagon shed, cooper's shops (for making barrels and kegs), a blacksmith's shop and bottle storage sheds.

"Older Augustans recall the big wagons, drawn by large, fine horses or mighty mules, that delivered beer to places in and around Augusta," Mr. Bell wrote in his Augusta Magazine story.

During 1905, the brewery expanded into the soft drink field by organizing its subsidiary, Dixie Carbonating Co., which became the first Pepsi Cola franchise-holder and bottler in Augusta. Pepsi Cola Co. had been founded in 1902 in New Bern, N.C. Upper Ten and Hires' Root Beer also was bottled by the company.

A harbinger of bad things to come took place in 1907 when the Georgia Legislature passed a statewide prohibition bill. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 1908, and prohibited sale or manufacture of liquors in Georgia.

Business looked bleak for the brewery, but Mr. Herman decided to try and weather the storm. The company renewed its charter and two trademarks were registered: A.B.C. birch beer, a non-alcoholic, carbonated beverage, and "PROHI," a non-intoxicating, non-alcoholic beverage.

Statewide prohibition may not have been strongly enforced because in 1910, the company filed applications for trademarks for "Dixie" and "Belle of Georgia." The company continued to prosper through 1912, when $20,000 in improvements were made to double the brewery's capacity. Two years later, $15,000 was spent on improvements to the bottling works.

In 1913, Congress got into the prohibition scene, forbidding the mailing or shipping of liquor into any state banning such shipments.

On May 1, 1916, Augusta Brewing Co. was forced to change its name to "The Augusta Ice & Beverage Company" to comply with Georgia law. Plans were announced to spend $10,000 to remodel the $500,000 plant for the manufacture of non-alcoholic beverages like "near-beer."

Near-beer "looked and frothed like real beer, but that was the only resemblance," Mr. Bell recalled.

But Prohibition, which was to blanket the nation through passage of the Volstead Act in 1919, proved to be too tough a foe for the company. A petition for bankruptcy was filed on March 5, 1921. Assets were listed as $117,414.45 against liabilities of $194,994.08.

The old brewery was torn down in 1964.

Augusta Brewing Co. bottles and other artifacts will compose the centerpiece of a display of bottles at Augusta-Richmond County Museum. The display is tentatively scheduled to open the second week of April and last until the second week of November.


Bill Babb can be reached at (706) 823-3304 or [email protected].

Article from:  http://celebrate2000.morriscomm.com/stories/021399/his_beer.shtml


Web posted Thursday, April 1, 1999

photo: history

An exhibit at Augusta-Richmond County Museum will display historic bottles from Augusta and will include the history of Augusta Brewing Co.

Messages in bottles
Exhibit showcases Augusta, Georgia's centuries-old artifacts
Story from The Augusta Chronicle

By Ashlee Griggs
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta-Richmond County Museum opens a new exhibit this weekend spotlighting the city's production and use of beer, soda, water and pharmacy bottles since the 18th century.

The exhibit, Messages in Bottles: A History of Bottling and Bottle-Making in Augusta, opens Saturday at the museum in downtown Augusta. The exhibit, with bottles and artifacts from collectors Bill Babb, Walter Smith and J. Douglas Herman and the museum's own collection, tells the history of bottle-making, bottling and brewing in Augusta.

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Augusta-Richmond County Museum Curator Gordon Blaker holds a historic glass flask that is part of the museum's bottle display that will start on Saturday and last through Oct. 31.

Mr. Herman is a direct descendant of Edward W. Herman, a co-founder of Augusta Brewing Co.

``This colorful exhibition uses photographs, signs, advertisements, bottles and other related artifacts to chronicle everything put in a bottle in Augusta since 1736,'' museum Curator Gordon Blaker said.

Exhibit pieces illustrate the bottle's evolution from the wobbly mouth-blown glass shapes of the 1700s to one-piece glass containers produced in 1897.

``Early bottles were made by placing the glass at the end of a metal rod and blowing, which easily explains the odd shape,'' Mr. Blaker said.

Many bottles in the exhibit date from Augusta Brewing Co.'s opening in 1889. The company was popular with residents on both sides of the Savannah River, producing soft drinks as well as the Belle of Georgia and Belle of Carolina beers.

photo: history

A historic soda bottle that is on display at the Augusta-Richmond County Museum.

During Prohibition, which lasted for 14 years beginning in 1919, manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal. The company changed its name to Augusta Ice & Beverage Co. and expanded its product line with ice cream, chocolate milk and flavoring extracts. But despite its efforts to change with the times, the company failed.

Augusta Brewing wasn't the city's only bottler. Mineral water bottlers and soft-drink bottlers also had a place in Augusta.

Bottled water was popular in the early 20th century before most Augustans had access to public water systems. Water from Flowing Wells and Windsor Springs was dispensed in bottles for area residents.

Soft-drink bottlers were in high demand to produce carbonated beverages. Bottlers introduced colored bottles, telling customers the color of the bottle improved the taste of the drink, according to literature from the museum.

The museum exhibit includes bottles in a variety of colors.

``The value of the bottle lies in the color,'' said Mr. Baab, who is outdoor editor of The Augusta Chronicle. ``Bottles that are blue, brown and yellow are much more valuable than the clear ones.''

Augusta's bottles since 1736

Exhibit: Messages in Bottles: A history of bottling and bottle-making in Augusta.

Where: Augusta-Richmond County Museum, 560 Reynolds St. in downtown Augusta. Parking is available in the museum's lot at Sixth and Broad streets.

When: Exhibit opens Saturday and runs through Oct. 31; museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission: $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $2 for children up to age 18; half price on Sundays.

One bottle in the exhibit was produced by Baldowski Bottling Works, whose owner turned down an offer for Augusta's Coca-Cola franchise in the early 1900s because he believed his drink was better.

The exhibit, which continues through October, also includes medicine bottles from Augusta pharmacies. The medicine group includes early cures known as Frog Pond Chill and Fever Cure and Ketter's Liver Klenzer. Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup from the 1880s was a medicine for babies; it contained opium, Mr. Blaker said.

Ashlee Griggs can be reached at (706) 823-3512 or [email protected].



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