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AUGUSTA BREWING COMPANY

Augusta, Georgia
-1888
How it began.how it ended
by John Douglas Herman Sr., Great-Grandson of Edward W. Herman
(September 19, 2015)
{This historical documentary supersedes others I wrote in that new
research of the Pank and Herman relationship in Louisville Ky gave
rise to the original initiative to build the brewery.}

The War Ends: 1865 Herman and Pank, Maltsters of


Louisville, Ky. and Chicago, Ill.

The beginnings of Augusta Brewing Company of 1888


(Augusta, Ga.) trace its roots to two friends and business
partners, John Henry Pank (b.1853) and Edward William
Herman (b. 1840). Panks parents came to America from
Hanover, Germany and settled in Louisvlle, Ky. when he
was an infant. Herman had served The Union in The War
Between the States and mustered out in Louisville in the
year 1865 at age 25.
In fact many troops mustered out in Louisville in 1865
and that gave rise to Schad & Yaeger Brewery which
flourished at that time. This brewery created a great
demand for main ingredients in beer making malt, barley,
and hops.
Earlier in 1861, John Englen was the first maltster of
Louisville, Ky. and by 1865 his malting company John
Engeln & Co. was at full capacity and at that time Herman
became identified with the company. In 1869 Herman was
admitted to partnership.
The E.W. Herman & Co. came into existence when
John Englen retired in 1874. The E.W. Herman Company
evolved into The Kentucky Malting Company when in 1876
Herman consolidated his company with the Stein & Doern
malt house of Louisville. John Panks father was manager
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of the S&D house. In 1873 Panks son John had also joined
the S&D house and soon became its manager. Edward
Herman was named President of Kentucky Malting Co.
Edward married Mary Louise Bindewald of the highly
respected Bindewald family of Louisville.
About that same year of 1873, 20 year old John Pank
married Ophelia Doern, the daughter of Kentucky
Colonel Philip Doern who was a very wealthy capitalist in
Louisville. Years earlier Doern had emigrated from
Germany.
Thus Edward Herman and John Pank became business
partners. It is valid conjecture that the Doern wealth was
used to expand the Kentucky Malting Co. that began with
a capacity of one hundred and fifty thousand bushels of
malt, then constructed a new building with a new capacity
of half a million bushels.
After The War
Breweries as well as distilleries sprung up all over
Kentucky greatly increasing demand for rye, corn malt, as
well as barley malt. All items were added to Kentucky
Malting Companys product line.
John Panks father Ky. Col J. Henry Pank was a
politically strong player on the governors staff of Luke P.
Blackburn who was governor from 1879 to 1883. Pank Sr.
continued in the business and in 1884 went to Chicago
and purchased the Northwestern Malting Companys
works from C.W. Boynton while still maintaining his
position of secretary and treasurer of KMC at Louisville.
In the late 1890s, a new malt company was organized,
composed largely of the brewers of Louisville under the
name Kentucky Malt and Grain Company and it began to
operate the facility. Herman and Pank obviously sold their
malt venture to the conglomerate moved on to Augusta
Brewing Co. and Pank & Co. Maltster in Chicago.
Maltsers to Brewers:
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It was a natural thing that business partners E.


Herman and J. Pank would seek the opportunity to become
involved in the rapidly expanding brewing business in the
new South. Kentucky being already saturated with
breweries the two sought other sites and settled on
Augusta, Georgia.
In the mid-1880s Edward Herman had visited Augusta
and affable Mayor Patrick Walsh welcomed him with open
arms. There was a persistent rumor of prohibition coming
to Georgia so Herman met with Georgia Governor John
Gordon who assured Herman that prohibition would never
come to Georgia. Herman and Pank decided to proceed
with constructing a brewery in Augusta Ga. and it opened
in 1888.
Both Herman and Pank were at that time still heavily
involved in the malting operations in both Louisville and
Chicago and neither were able to move to Augusta to
operate the brewery. The two decided to hire 36 year old
August J. Schweers (b. 1852) who was a shoe salesman for
Manus Shoe Company of Cincinnati. A.J. Schweers had
married E.W. Hermans sister-in-law Petronelloa
Bindewald. Schweers moved to Augusta and ran the startup brewing operation. The articles of incorporation of
Augusta Brewing Company were signed in Oct. 1888
(Richmond County Book 1888 folio 11) and petitioners
listed are John Pank; Edward Herman; and August
Schweers. It was capitalized at $50,000 issuing 500
shares at $100 per share. Again Pank was from a wealthy
family and had married into the Doern wealth so he was
obviously the financial strength behind the venture while
Herman with greater business experience was the main
driver of the enterprise.
Presidents of ABCo 1888:
1. August J. Schweers

term 1888-1894

(Reported in Augusta Chronicle he died 1894 of nervous


prostration. It was reported that the brewery was already
struggling financially under his leadership and that stress
no doubt contributed to his demise. His stock in the
company was left to his wife Petronella Bindewald whose
brother Florian Bindewald came to Augusta to work at the
brewery and was appointed corporate secretary. Florian
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drowned at Augustas Murray Hill Lake in 1897 shortly


after coming to Augusta.)
2. Edward W. Herman
term 1894-1898
(Upon AJ Schweers death he moved to Augusta to operate
the brewery.)
3. J. Bernard (Ben) Schweers

term 1898-1905

(Ben Schweers was AJs brother and had married Edward


Hermans daughter Rosa Cecelia who died shortly after
the marriage. Herman needed to return to Louisville to
settle matters with his malting company and brought in
his son-in-law Ben to operate the brewery. Hermans son
William Andrew Herman Sr also joined the brewery at this
time. After the death of his first wife, Ben married Mary
OConnor and around 1905 left the brewery to operate
OConnor & Schweers Paint Company. While at the paint
company, Ben continued to operate the brewerys
subsidiary Dixie Carbonating Co that attempted to
market non-alcohol beverages. Brewery leaders also
created a subsidiary Augusta Ice & Beverage Company to
market non-alcohol products. The Prohibition Act did not
even permit the use of the name brewery. Edward Herman
returned to Augusta to operate the brewery.)
4. Edward W. Herman

term 1905-1908

(Herman departed again for Louisville and appointed


his son William A. Herman to the presidency and his son
Joseph Leo Herman to be secretary. August Schweers son
Ambrose was sent to Augusta to be treasurer. E. Herman
had managed to acquire additional funding that was used
to fit the plant with non-alcohol producing machinery. This
funding gave it a temporary new life.)
5. William A. Herman Sr

term 1908-1912

Prohibition came to Georgia in 1908 and it was only


moderately enforced in the early days so the brewery
continued to operate with moderate success until 1916
when the state of Georgia began stronger enforcement of
prohibition.

A 1912 article in The Augusta Chronicle spoke of Edward Herman as


still being the guiding spirit at age 72 and there was indeed some company
resurgence with monies being invested in the facility for improvements most
probably to add non-alcohol product producing equipment.
In 1916 the state of Georgia forced the brewery to change its name and
the leaders selected Augusta Ice & Beverage Company. The term
Brewery was taboo! Members of the Herman family and Ambrose Schweers
continued to be involved in various segments of the struggling enterprise until
the year 1921 when the company finally declared bankruptcy and those
involved scattered to various independent jobs and ventures. Edwards son
W.A. Herman, Sr. opened a home beer-making supply business and grocery
store on Broad Street in Augusta.
Amazingly Edward Herman lived to the age of 89. It is interesting that
both August Schweers and Florian Bindewald each had died at the early age
of 42 years.
DEMISE: Ultimately the weight of US Government
prohibition, not mismanagement on anyones watch,
caused the demise of the brewery and its subsidiaries.
Because of prohibition, the once great Augusta Brewing Company was
relegated to history.
Source:
Brewing
Source:
Source:
Source:
Source:

One Hundred Years of Brewing A Complete History of Progress Made in


(HS Rich 1903)
History of Chicago vol. 3 p. 576 by Alfred Theodore Andreas
The Augusta Chronicle archives
Augusta On Glass (by Bill Baab 2007)
100 Years of Brewing (Arno Press 1974)