April 23, 2017

Delphos Brewery

In 1868 Felix Steinle, a German beer maker, came to America and began looking for a good-sized town in which to establish a brewery. His ultimate choice of Delphos led to the creation of a significant industry specializing in beer, soft drinks and ice.

In 1883 he purchased the Delphos Brewery and by 1885 was producing 5,000 barrels of beer a year. The Delphos Herald reported, “The beer manufactured by the Delphos Brewery is gaining a wide-spread reputation, and competent judges pronounce it superior to that made at Cincinnati and Milwaukee.”

Within another ten years “Steinle’s Delphos Beer” was being turned out at the rate of 7,000 barrels a year. The Company was also producing about 3,600 tons of ice. (Prior to the development of an ice works around 1890, ice from the canal was cut in February and March and stored under sawdust from local mills until needed in the summer.)

By far, the largest part of the Steinle Company’s production was beer for sale “on tap;” that is, drawn directly from an oak barrel and put into kegs. Smaller kegs like the one in the picture, were for home delivery. Some beer was bottled and today Steinle bottles are coveted by collectors.

A new plant was constructed around 1902 and was located along East Second Street. . The old plant was behind it on what was then First Street and is now an extension of the St. John parish cemetery. Directly across Second Street from the new plant was the Steinle home, which still stands.

Between 1907 and 1918, the average output of the brewery was 9,000 barrels of beer per year—approximately 25 barrels per day. To reflect the popularity, the name of the beer was changed during this time to “Steinle’s Famous Delphos Beer.” But in 1918, although business was good, prohibition loomed on the horizon and the name “The Steinle Brewing and Ice Company” was changed to “The Steinle-Delphos Company.”

Prohibition became effective on January 16, 1920 and beer making became a thing of the past. The company discarded much of the brewing equipment, reconfigured the area and, by utilizing their ice-making equipment, entered into the retail ice business by supplying the city with “artificial ice.” In addition to their previous bottled soft drinks, they also bottled a beverage known as “near beer.” Production dropped to 1000 barrels a year and the company began losing money. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 but the country was still deep in the Great Depression so no attempt was made to begin brewing beer again. The Steinle family remained owners of the company until the death of Felix’s son, Charles, in 1947. After several other owners, the building was razed in 1971.

The museum has various items from the Steinle Brewery and Ice Company on display We also have Steinle T-shirts for sale. We are open every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Printed in the Delphos Herald May 8, 2010 by the Delphos Canal Commission.

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Comments

  1. Betty Burger Plew says:

    I have a brown glass bottle from the Steinle Co. Are these rare?

    • We have numerous Steinle bottles at our museum. There are several different ones depending on when they were made. They are probably harder to find away from Delphos, but they can be found on ebay occasionally.

  2. Anne Steinle says:

    IS there a local site for geneology of the family of Felix Steinle? He was my great grandfather. His son Walter was my grandfather–he moved away as a young man and never went back) . I’d like to visit Delpos one day and see the museum and the Steinle home. My brother found Steinle beer bottles for my sister and me on eBay last Christmas!

    • Linda Baker says:

      I’m sorry, but there is no local web site for geneology. I hope you get to Delphos sometime to see the house.

      • judy levin says:

        Belatedly my brother just came across this article about the brewing company and the various comments. We are the only grandchildtren of William Steinle and children of his daughter Wilma Jane. I happen to have the complete history of the brewery as well as a written history of the Steinle family from 1816-1873 and a family tree dating to the 16th century (all of this written by my mother’s cousin Charles). I am happy to share any of the info with the museum or relatives who are interested in the genealogy!

    • judy levin says:

      Belatedly my brother just came across this article about the brewing company and the various comments. We are the only grandchildtren of William Steinle and children of his daughter Wilma Jane. I happen to have the complete history of the brewery as well as a written history of the Steinle family from 1816-1873 and a family tree dating to the 16th century (all of this written by my mother’s cousin Charles). I am happy to share any of the info with the museum or relatives who are interested in the genealogy!

      • Linda Baker says:

        Thank you for the offer. I will check with someone at the museum to see if this is something we might want. I know we have the history of the brewery. Our public library does more with genealogy than we do. I will check with them as well and get back with you.

      • Geno perales says:

        I would love to get any information u could offer. My great grandfather is William b steinle. His father is Felix Steinle and his grandfather is Felix Steinle as well from the beer company

  3. Felix was my great-great grandfather and anything historical I can find out about the brewery is always a pleasure! I live in Arizona so a trip to Ohio probably won’t happen very soon, but I would absolutely love to get my hands on a genuine Steinle Brewery t-shirt. Can I order one online, how much for a 2XL, and do you have a picture of one you can eMail to me?

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

    -CAW Steinle

    • Linda Baker says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I will send you a picture of our Steinle t-shirt.

    • Robert E Lause says:

      The Steinle Home may be coming on the market before long. A friend of mine died a year ago and his widow is thinking of down sizing. My mother washed and ironed the clothes for Dewey and Maime Steinle in the 50’s and I helped carry the baskets into the house. I worked for Dewey in the Lion Clothing Store in Delphos in the early 60’s.

      If interested it would be best to contact me through my email account.

  4. Robert E Lause says:

    My father, Leonard Lause and his brother Clarence Lause, both worked for the Steinle Brewery works in the early 40’s. I remember one trip with my dad to deliver ice to the north end railroad yards, to deliver ice to box cars and leave blocks of ice in a wood box beside the roundhouse, for the crews to chip ice, for their water jugs. Dad would carry blocks of ice (50#) I guess, up the ladder on each end of the box cars and drop the ice in a hatch in the opposit diaginal corner of each car, to cool the food in the cars as the train traveled down the railroad. The cars had hatches open that scooped air in for the direction they were traveling.

    Dad had a holster on his belt for his ice pick and handled that pick like it was a part of him. We had a fire in our attic at home when I was about four and dad came home while working, after the fire was out, pulled out his ice pick, poked a bunch of holes in the ceiling to let the water out, to keep the plaster from falling from the ceiling, because of the weight of the water from the fire department spraying water on the roof and into the attic. The two brothers died within a year of each other in the mid 40’s.

    Bob Lause

    • Linda Baker says:

      Enjoyed your comments about your dad and would like to use them at the museum with your permission.

      • Robert E Lause says:

        You have my permission to use my comments at the meseum. Forgot about my comment. Moved back to Delphos in 2000. My sister also lives here.
        Robert e Lause

  5. John Vetter says:

    Hi,

    William Steinle was my uncle. He and his family lived at 210 East Third Street, purchased from the estate of my grandfather John Vetter. I would love to have a Steinle T-shirt. I shall pass through Delphos September 1. Please let me know the location of the museum so I can visit.

    JV

    • Linda Baker says:

      We are located at 241 N Main St. Look forward to seeing you on the 1st.

      • judy levin says:

        I am not sure my longer comment to you has posted as it says “your comment is awaiting moderation” and i dont know what that means! I just want you to know if have a whole family and brewery history dating way back so let me know what you might like for the museum. Judy Levin, grandaughter or William Steinle

  6. We have an old dump on our ranch and I was exploring it to find some old machinery parts to use in some of my
    wood projects, (I like to incorporate old farm pieces in a lot of the stuff that I build), when I came across a beer bottle w/
    Delphos on it. I was intrigued because I didn’t recognize the name, I had never heard of it before. It also had the Steinle Beer and Ice Co across the bottom of the bottle. I have no use for this item, but I would be interested in parting w/ it if the price is right. If there is any interest in acquiring this beer bottle please respond via my e-mail address. Something I failed to mention is that I’m from Cascade Mt. which is a long way from Ohio!

  7. Kelsey Pohlman says:

    What was the location of the old Steinle building? And what’s currently in its place?

    • Linda Baker says:

      It was on the south side of E 2nd St., east of St. John’s school. The site is presently a parking lot for the school.

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