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Letter from Sioux City Brewing Co.

Date: 1913


Description: This letter is from the Sioux City Brewing Company, as made obvious by their impressive letterhead. The company began in 1899 in a brick building on what is now Wesley Way. The company brewed and bottled specialties, Bavarian Export, Extra Pale Select, Heidel Brau (the “Royal German Beer”), and Western Brew. It began under Joseph Baumgartner and Abel Anderson, but George Kingsbury and F. L. Eaton bought the business around 1908. The letter is addressed to John H. Cleary, who, along with Andrew M. Cleary, operated and managed the Exchange Hotel and Saloon out of the Livestock Exchange Building. The letter warns Cleary that in order to continue selling alcohol out of his establishment he must get new licenses and papers from the city council. Sioux City Brewing Company likely sent many letters of this kind to its retailers in order to ensure their own business life by making sure their products were purchased and sold legally. But this was especially important in the 1900s and 1910s when temperance legislation was becoming more and more popular. After the murder of Reverend George Haddock in 1886, a vocal Prohibitionist, temperance laws restricted alcohol sellers and producers. Pressure on companies like Sioux City Brewing was high, making the assured legal sale of their products paramount if their company was to survive. In 1916 Iowa declared itself a dry state, and the company was shut down. In 1935 after the repeal of Prohibition anew Sioux City Brewing Company opened in the former Interstate Brewery at First and Isabella Streets. The company closed for good in 1958, even though at the time it was Iowa’s largest brewing company.


Donor: Cleary Family

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