Drewrys holding first taste party in South Bend

Published 5:45 pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

Drewrys Brewing Company will be holding its 1st Taste of Drewrys tasting party, slated for Aug. 24 on the Pavilion at Century Center in South Bend, Ind.
In addition to the favorite Drewrys lager that so many people used to enjoy, Drewrys will be bringing three unique Drewrys craft beer tastes to the party for attendees to vote on to be the Drewrys taste.
The 1st Taste of Drewrys will feature a premium lager, original recipe, and a brewer’s special on hand for everyone to try and vote on. All three pay homage to the original Drewrys. Attendees are encouraged to try as many two ounce samples as they need to make their most informed decision. Once the decision has been rendered by the guest, they can buy full glasses of the tasty brews to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
This event will feature music from the Motown Dance Party featuring Billy “Stix” Nicks. Dancing the afternoon away at the Pavilion at the Century Center, celebrating the revival and re-launch of local, historical Drewrys Beer, what more could you want? Well there is more. Everyone who attends will receive a commemorative Drewrys Beer glass, giveaways of Drewrys “swag” all day as well as gift certificates and other fun prizes from Drewrys’ local sponsors, such as The View On the Boulevard (515 E. Jefferson St., South Bend) and McCormick’s Coney Island (125 N Michigan St., South Bend), and food from Century Center’s gourmet catering on top of all of it.
Drewrys Brewing Company was stationed in South Bend for years beginning in 1936. E.L. Drewry began his brewing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, back in 1877. His beer became famous throughout West Canada for their lager and ale.
But how did the beer with the Royal Canadian Mountie come to South Bend?
Well, after tragedy and the Great Depression hit the Muessel Brewery in South Bend (now where the former College Football Hall of Fame stands), E.L. Drewry bought Muessel in 1936, and eventually moved everything from his contract brewery in Evansville, Ind., to the new location in South Bend. They competed directly with Anheuser in the fifties and sixties with their beer they deemed “an American Lager with a German accent.”
In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a national consolidation of the brewing industry, and it was a death sentence for many regional breweries, like Drewrys. Brewing cities lost their identity at that time. But, luckily, regional beers are coming back, and coming back for good, with the renewed interest in smaller breweries across the country. As a town that once produced the iconic brand Studebaker, South Bend was also the home to Drewrys Beer.
A Chicago-based businessman with a love for classic American brands, Frank Manzo, is restoring Drewrys to its former glory. Bringing back, “More Flavor. Less Filling. More fun!” He and a small group of enthusiasts are working to bring back the name of a great Midwestern beer. Come join the fun, Aug. 24, from noon to 5 p.m., on the Pavilion at the Century Center, in downtown South Bend. Celebrate by trying their three new brews and help decide the new taste of Drewrys while enjoying Motown Dance Party featuring Billy “Stix” Nicks, food, swag, and fun! Tickets are available at drewrysbeer.eventbrite.com, and are $25 each.

A Drewerys comeback
Currently Drewerys has a business office and marketing office in South Bend through local marketing firm Ugly Dog Media.
Brewing is done by a contract brewer, which is typical for startup beer companies, said Dan Blacharski, Drewerys spokesman.
“Although we did look for a contract brewer in the area, there were none available that could handle the capacity, and so it is being brewed for the time being at a facility in Milwaukee, using the original ‘classic’ Drewrys recipe that we provided. Long-term plans are to build a facility here in South Bend,” he said.
Blacharski said many area bars and restaurants have expressed interest in carrying the beer.
“A total of seven distribution companies have signed on to give us coverage in several areas in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois,” he said.
The long-term plans are, Blacharski said, to brew in South Bend, but the scope and nature of lager (which is more complicated and requires more costly equipment than micro-brews) makes it an expensive proposition.
“We work closely with DTSB Inc. and would hope to locate an older building to rehab, possibly in the downtown area,” he said. “We did look at the original Drewrys plant on Elwood Avenue on the West Side of South Bend, but the amount of renovations needed to make the building usable is prohibitive.”