Eagle Brewing Company

Corner of the Greenbelt Parkway and Cherry Street
Eagle Brewing Company

Some say the earliest brewery in Toledo stood between Cherry and Walnut Streets on the north side of Michigan. This location was strategic - just one block east of the Miami and Erie Canal, which was a major transportation artery connecting Toledo and Cincinnati, the Great Lakes and the Ohio River.

In 1839, Julius Venangel purchased a brewery on this site for $100. Although it had reportedly operated for as long as a decade, the small purchase price suggests that prior brewing activity was minimal. Venangel’s partner Johann Vogelsang is thought to be the first Toledoan to dig deep Artesian wells to provide quality water for brewing.

Vogelsang’s first brew was an obergehr beer, a “top-fermented” ale which was made in a six-barrel iron kettle.

The brewery operated as the “Toledo Brewery” under several owners over the next two decades, beginning with Phillip Kale-r in 1844 and thenJoseph Grasser in 1857. Grasser took on multiple partners, most notably Frederick Lang and Henry Brand.

Frederick Lang, who purchased the plant in 1860, renamed it as the Eagle Brewery, and the name stuck for nearly 40 years. While Lang served in the Union army during the Civil War, Grasser partnered with Henry Brand, with whom he would operate the Grasser & Brand brewery beginning in 1866. More on that one later.

By now, you’re probably picking up on the fact that there was a lot of overlap in ownership and management in the Toledo brewery business.  That’s probably why they used to say, “If there are two Germans in Toledo, you’ll have a brewery. If there are three Germans, then you’ll have two breweries.”

By the time of Lang’s return from the war, the Eagle Brewery had switched to lager and was producing 5,000 barrels annually. The plant closed in 1873, when Lang partnered with Peter Lenk in the Toledo Brewing Co., which we’ll visit in a few minutes.

Lang did return here in 1881 and reestablished the “Eagle Brewing Company” with his son, Frederick Jr. Together, they built an entirely new and modern brewery on the same site.

Here is a description of the brewery’s vaults from 1882:

“Beneath the main buildings are large and solidly constructed arched vaults, 18 x 100 feet in dimension, capable of storing 4,000 barrels.”

The new facility had an annual capacity of 25,000 barrels but peaked at 15,000 in actual production. Beer was bottled at the adjacent City Bottling Works.

The plant changed hands a few times in its final 20 years of operation and closed in 1903 in preparation for the formation of the combine, that resulted in the Huebner-Toledo Breweries Company.

The building was converted to the Lime City Creamery but was raised by the 1930’s with nothing remaining at the site today.

Cross Cherry onto Spielbusch and continue on to Michigan. Continue on Michigan to Monroe, turn left on Monroe and right on to Erie Street, left on Washington and right on Superior.  Stop in front of the surface parking lot next to (north of) the Spaghetti Warehouse.

Copyright © 2020 Tedd Long