St Louis, Omaha, New Orleans, Galveston, El Paso, Ft Wayne, San Jose, San Francisco, Cranston, RI
Falstaff Fort Wayne Brewery Tour
New Info 8/01/09 thanks to former plant employee Jim Baker
Thanks to the Ft Wayne City Redevelopment Department, I got a chance to visit the Ft Wayne plant before it was sold and cleaned out. This is the mess that was still left after the city had hauled out 300 tons of garbage and other Falstaff collectors had been through the plant on the WOWO Charity day. If you also have pictures I'd be happy to add them! (Note: Bryan Monaco noticed that a good percentage of materials left behind are still being used by Pabst / S&P. So you really have to wonder why they left all of this here....a lot of the labels, packing materials, bottles, caps, etc. are still in mint condition) There are older photos of the plant on the Plant Photos Page.
Here is an artist's rendition of how the new Ft Wayne plant will look after renovation, thanks to Robert Current for the pic!
3/21/05 For some new pics of the former Falstaff Brewery after clean up and renovation in Ft Wayne, just go here. Thanks to Mike Bricker for the great site on Ft Wayne breweries.
Your tour guide in the label area, as you can see the roof leaks and it is very cold - most of the remaining labels, Haffenreffer, Ballantine, etc. were still sealed and in excellent condition after sitting here for 11 years. The Falstaff labels all had disappeared during the charity open house.
Photos taken by Mike Hudson during the WOWO Penny Pitch. We all owe Mike a big THANK YOU because it was his tip that Ft Wayne site was up for sale that lead to me contacting the city and making all this possible.
Some photos taken by Wes Weaver - high speed bottling machine / Falstaff decal on a glass door / packing materials left behind by S&P / Government tanks
Irony of all ironies - the building across the street from the abandoned Falstaff brewery is the Bud distributor / lunch room / bottling cellar/ prophetic writing in the basement / Falstaff expert Bryan Monaco on TV in Ft Wayne - thanks again to Wes!
There were green Haffenreffer Malt Liquor bottles everywhere! What was wierd was they had the labels on them (which is normally done after they are filled) Steps leading up to the offices and down to the aging tanks
The poster on the left is a classic: "Great Beer Bellies are Born not Made!" / Piles of returnable Buds, Lites, & Staff (including a Griesedieck era case - think I grabbed this one!) -
Black 'Gansett cases
The offices were totally trashed, that's a bottle of Drewery's on the right / Another view of the plant
high speed bottle filling equipment from the bottling line - this one can fill one hundred bottles / minute (but was too big to fit into our car...) - someone told me it still had the shipping label to China on it
There were tens of thousands of crowns here all with the rebus on the inside....On the mezzanine there were pallets of new boxes all still banded
Ft Wayne December 1989
Thanks to a video tape that was shot by former employee Derek Oltman, I am able to show you some pics of Ft Wayne while it was still in operation. It was shot by an employee just a month before the brewery closed. Please remember this is a third generation video i.e. a copy of a copy so the pics will not be so clear.
Shot outside the brewery / aging tanks
Cleaning the tanks / cool brass plaque on a piece of equipment in the brew house....this "disappeared" in later shots
government tanks in better days, the black shield was actually a chalk board to write the batch number. By the time the beer had reached this point it had been aged 21 days./ Falstaff shield in the brew house
copper brew kettle - removed and shipped to Pabst China
The old Berghoff logo was still visible near the roof / wooden yeast storage tanks
Skimming yeast from the yeast vats by hand
The plant's "practical joker" Earl Steinmetz lights up in a "No Smoking" area (there was another very funny moment on the tape which I cannot show as this is a "G" rated site)..../ Bob Little adding hops to the wort
Falstaff worker caught on camera catching some zzzzs at lunch time / Bill Pollack at the brew house
a couple of "shields" on the tanks
While trying to pound the bung into this keg something went wrong and golden Falstaff beer sprayed all over everywhere....bottling line after the shut down
Lab technician in the QC lab - kegs of Falstaff (when was the last time you saw it on draft? For me it was in New Orleans in 1978)
Keg area / The brewmaster practicing his craft
Moving 12 packs with a fork lift / Ft Wayne TV announces the closure of the last Falstaff brewery 12/89
announcing the closure on CBS / at a local liquor store
Dedicated to all the working folks at Falstaff who lost their jobs to corporate greed and the "visigoths" (as Joseph Coors called the marketing boys) who ruined our local family owned brewing industry...
The Falstaff spokesperson / & the employees' reactions - many had worked there their entire lives (sorry the pics aren't so flattering!)
A few weeks after these were shot, all of these folks were out of work -- Mr. Paul K ended up with a cool $400 million in his bank account and was recognized by the University of California at SF for his "benevolence"... I've, unfortunately, had to lay people off and been laid off myself (when my wife was 6 months pregnant with #3) so know all too well the feeling on their faces....It sucks.