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Theodore Knapstein began his brewing career in the late 1860’s as partner in the Becker, Beyer and Company brewery. After Mr. Beyer’s death in 1875, Mr. Knapstein purchased Mr. Becker’s share of the business and along with his brother, Henry, renamed the brewery Theodore Knapstein and Company. This building replaced the former building in 1897. W. Toepfer and Sons of Milwaukee designed it, the building being 30 x 40 feet, four stories high, and a basement. The building could be seen from every part of New London. In 1908, Henry withdrew due to illness and Theodore’s sons joined him in the business. The business became the Knapstein Brewing Co. The business thrived until prohibition shut it down in 1919. The buildings were unused for eight years except for the bottling house, which the Wolf River Ice Cream Co. in 1922, now the Verifine Dairy Products Company purchased. Five years later, William M. Knapstein, his cousin, William H. Knapstein of Greenville, and John Haug of Appleton, purchased the remaining brewery property, land and buildings, and forming a partnership, began the manufacture of wort, a malt extract, in the old brewery building. After three years, Mr. Haug withdrew and the Knapstein cousins continued the manufacture of wort until the repeal of the 18th amendment in 1932, legalizing the manufacture of fermented malt beverages. The two Knapstein’s immediately began readying the buildings for the manufacture of beer and, in

May 1933, formed the Knapstein Brewing Co., a closed corporation with capital stock of $100,000, the shares distributed between them and their wives. In June of 1933, M. W. Knapstein returned to New London from Chicago to become office manager for the corporation. In October 1944, William M. Knapstein acquired all the stock of the company, making it a family affair, with his wife and three children. The brewery eventually closed in 1958 with the buildings demolished in 1970.

 

New London Public Museum, Facebook Post 12/10/20

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