Old Crown Brewing Corporation

Old Crown Brewing Corporation

Old Crown Brewing Corporation was an American brewery, founded as The French Brewery in 1862 by Charles L. Centlivre (a French immigrant), on North Spy Run Avenue, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"If You Want to be Well drink beer that is pure and healthful. Our Special Export Beer is absolutely pure, properly aged and fermented, and is made from the best materials money can buy. We spare neither care, cash nor brains in the brewing of this perfect beer, and the rich, inimitable flavor is the natural consequence. Drink Special Export-the beer that tells. C L Centlivre Brewing Co. Phone 62, Made in Ft. Wayne."

-Advertisement from 1905

  • As of 1934, there was a minor league baseball team in Fort Wayne called The Centlivre Beers.
  • There was a Centlivre Trolley that went past the brewery on its regular run.
  • Once upon a time, you could call the brewery (Phone 62) and they would deliver beer to your home.
  • The statue of CL Centlivre that stood atop the original brewery now stands above the entrance to Halls Gas House, a local eatery. It once blew down from the brewery during a wind storm in 1964.
  • During the 1950's, Old Crown Ale was sold in multi colored cans on several occasions. These red, gold, blue, yellow, green and purple cans are extremely rare today.
  • During World War Two, the 'Lazy Aged' man began appearing in Old Crown ads sleeping on a cloud, wearing a pointed hat, pointed shoes and festive clothes, sometimes with a spider web to put an exclamation point on his laziness. He would later appear on the side of Old Crown Beer and Bock cans, but not Ale, which would only have the words "Lazy Aged' on the side much later. Other characters included a pre-prohibition character with a resemblance to the later lazy aged guy, the elf like Little Nick who symbolized Nickel Plate Beer. There was also 'Quartsie,' a talking 32 ounce bottle, and 'Crownie,' a character dressed like a waiter with crown like eyebrows who appeared rather briefly on Old Crown beer cans, promotional items and advertisements in the early 1960s.
  • The term "Lazy Aged" was used to refer to the extensive aging of their products "To the peak of flavor perfection." In the case of Old Crown Bock, this was four months, from November to March (when it would go on sale), something they were always very proud of. The normal period of aging for their other products appears to have been about three weeks.
  • Alps Brau was touted on the radio as "Very Bavarian, Very Bavarian, Very Bavarian Beer" in radio jingles by a local musical act, Nancy Lee and The Hilltoppers.

The brewery's best-known brand was Old Crown, a renaming of their earlier Centlivre brand. Prior to Prohibition, brands included Nickel Plate Beer, Muechener, the aforementioned Centlivre Beer and The Centlivre Tonic, among others. During Prohibition they produced a near beer called That's It, briefly reviving the old Centlivre brand after Prohibition, before introducing Old Crown. The company itself adopted the Old Crown name when they merged with Chris-Craft Industries for a short time in 1962. Chris-Craft sold the company to its employees.[1] The brewery produced Old Crown Beer, Old Crown Ale, Old Crown Bock, Van Merrit, Old German, Renner and Alps Brau, until they ceased production on December 1, 1973. Peter Hand brewing of Chicago continued to make Old Crown beer and ale, as well as Van Merrit and Alps Brau, until the late 80's.

Plans to turn the old brewery into a historic site were dashed by vandalism during the 1970s, and other hopes to utilize the remaining buildings in some way were never realized, with the last of the brewery demolished in 1989. All that could be saved were the old Centlivre home, and horse stables.


  1. ^ "A Brief History of Brewing in Fort Wayne, Indiana". Indiana Brewing History. http://www.indianabeer.com/History/IH-FW.html. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 

External links

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