Thank goodness, Paul Dresser wrote down the words and music to “On the Banks of the Wabash.”
And that Max Ehrmann put “Desiderata” on paper.
And that Walter Braun grabbed a pencil, scratched out the recipe to Champagne Velvet beer, and tucked it into the pages of his assistant brewmaster’s journal in 1901 at the old Terre Haute Brewery.
Imagine Terre Haute without that song, that poem, that beverage.
Most of history disappears, as generations pass and the details go with them. Sometimes, a tradition survives through chance or determination. Champagne Velvet endures through both. Its legacy entered a new chapter this summer.
Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington has purchased the rights, including the trademark and registration, to Champagne Velvet from Mike Rowe, the Terre Haute businessman who in 2000 revived the beer with the “million-dollar flavor” and produced and distributed it locally from the Terre Haute Brewery until 2006.
The acquisition by Upland, the state’s second-largest brewery, creates the possibility of the widest distribution of Champagne Velvet since the Terre Haute Brewery closed in 1958. In its 14th year, Upland sends its beers to all 92 Indiana counties, Kentucky and Wisconsin, and, later this fall, to southwest Ohio. Its product line includes seven year-round styles of English and German ales and lagers, as well as a dozen seasonal beverages and another dozen beers offered periodically. The addition of a historic Hoosier brand, CV, marks a first for Upland.
“If you’re in our industry, it’s one of the most successful brands in the history of beer,” Upland owner Doug Dayhoff said. “That, and it’s an Indiana brand, and a local brand.”
Dayhoff emphasized that Upland has not yet formalized any marketing or distribution plans for Champagne Velvet, which would be produced in Upland’s impressive, new 38,000-square-foot brewery on Bloomington’s outskirts. Through the end of this year, the company hopes to gauge through social media, including Upland’s Facebook page, public interest in a re-introduction of CV.
“That’s our question — how much love and interest still exists for that brand and its history,” Dayhoff said, while strolling through Upland’s brewery Wednesday morning. “We think there’s a lot, but we want to find that out.”
The appeal of Upland’s beers has grown 20 to 25 percent annually during the past few years, Dayhoff explained. Its operation outgrew the original site, on 11th Street in downtown Bloomington, where the popular Upland brew-pub opened in 1998. The firm recently completed a $3 million renovation of the new brewery building, and began brewing there a month ago.
Dayhoff estimates Upland will produce 340,000 gallons (or 150,000 cases) of its beers in 2012. “We’ve grown a lot,” he said.
Rowe rejuvenated the fabled Terre Haute brewing district in 2000. He’d uncovered Braun’s CV recipe in 1990, and spent the next decade re-creating the signature drink of a brewery that once was America’s seventh-largest. Working from the historic Terre Haute Brewery building near Ninth and Poplar streets, Rowe produced Champagne Velvet for six years, until leasing the facility to the Indianapolis-based makers of a line of Belgian beers, Brugge Brasserie. CV production ceased at that point. The Brugge firm moved its operations and equipment to the Indianapolis Broad Ripple district earlier this year.
A few years after Champagne Velvet output ended, Dayhoff and the Upland folks began talking with Rowe about the beverage’s next chapter. They finalized the sale of the rights this summer, Dayhoff said. Rowe also confirmed that agreement Wednesday.
“We’ve known Mike for years and cheered on the sidelines as they re-launched the brands,” Dayhoff said, standing beside the Upland bottling line. Such camaraderie is not uncommon in Indiana’s expanding craft-brewing industry. The growth of a market for locally produced goods benefits all, he said.
“Other brewers and other craft brewers are really on the same team in moving that cultural issue forward,” Dayhoff said.
When it comes to Hoosier brewing, Champagne Velvet — whose key ingredient was corn flakes — holds a prime spot in the state’s culture. At its peak, 46.5 million gallons of CV were produced a year by 950 workers in Terre Haute. It started with that recipe Walter Braun wrote down in 1901, and helped launch in 1902.
One hundred and 10 years later, a new generation of Indiana brewers is considering new possibilities for CV.
“Back in the day, it was one of the beers that set the benchmark for quality,” Dayhoff said. “We’d like to think that should be preserved.”
Here’s a toast to that spirit, passed from Braun to Rowe to the team at Upland.
Mark Bennett can be reached at (812) 231-4377 or email@example.com.
Thank goodness, Paul Dresser wrote down the words and music to “On the Banks of the Wabash.”
Environmental concerns will shorten new trail along river — for now
It’s easy to imagine, even on a frosty day, how scenic a planned new hiking and biking trail near the Wabash River will someday be.
Environmental Protection Agency says it is taking charge of lead cleanup
The federal government will be paying to clean up a 39-acre former industrial dump site along the Wabash River in Terre Haute.
New Rex owners lay out plans
The new owners of the Terre Haute Rex baseball team laid out their game plan Tuesday and asked for the community’s support to keep a good thing going.
Byron Sutton receives 40-year sentence for murder
A Terre Haute man received a 40-year prison sentence after admitting that he killed his handicapped brother last year.
Wood sentenced for part in fatal shooting
A Terre Haute man received a 10-year prison sentence in connection with a burglary attempt that involved a fatal shooting, but he was ordered to serve five years in community correction followed by five years of probation.
Terre Haute man not injured in Owen crash
A Terre Haute man was not injured in a fatal crash Monday afternoon in Owen County.
Blazing his own trail
The federal budget agreement reached last week in the U.S. House of Representatives was the “best deal we could achieve,” says U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th.
Drilling for oil at ISU: Derrick debuts on campus
Drilling started on Monday in what many hope will be the first successful oil well downtown in more than 100 years.
Being “somebody’s librarian” has been important to Suzanne Van Reed for the past 51 years.
ISU joins opposition to HJR-6
Indiana State University faculty, staff and student governance groups are speaking with a united voice in opposition to HJR-6, a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Judge rules against Sullivan’s attempt to annex property
A long-running battle over annexation in Sullivan County came to an end Monday — at least for now.
Forum offers advice on how towns can fight blight
Indiana communities with abandoned and decaying homes can soon apply for help through the federal government’s Hardest Hit Fund.
Board OKs study of mountain bike trail
A feasibility study will be undertaken to provide a conceptual design, overall costs including maintenance and staffing needs, a conceptual programming plan and a time schedule should Vigo County park officials go forward with a proposed mountain bike trail at Fowler Park.
History restored as new plaque proclaims earlier efforts at Otter Creek schools
When Fred Weaver Jr. walked through the halls of Otter Creek Middle School last summer, he noticed something was missing — a bronze plaque that paid tribute to his late father and others responsible for construction of the original facility more than 50 years ago.
FFB announces decorating contest winners
The top five First Financial Bank branches, and the organizations whose members decorated them, have been chosen in the annual lobby Christmas decorating contest.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 17, 2013
Why stop with Pepsi sponsor fee?
Thanks to those who participated
WWII lives worth more than fuel
Baby & Me: Mothers and the fight to quit smoking
When Heather Owens learned she was pregnant with her first child March 3, she quit smoking within two days.
Tobacco use & infant mortality high in Indiana
Reducing infant mortality has been named a top priority in the state of Indiana, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Only five states and the District of Columbia have higher rates of infant mortality, per 2011 statistics.
Kids & Police
The smiles on children’s faces said it all, as they raced through the aisles of Walmart South to pick out Duck Dynasty shirts, glittery high tops, Monster High dolls and other coveted toys.
Out-of-pocket health costs may shock
The next big challenge for the nation’s health care law may be sticker shock, when consumers find they’re still paying high medical bills after buying low-cost insurance for the first time.
Navigating the range of out-of-pocket costs
Are requirements of the nation’s new health care law driving up out-of-pocket costs for people buying their own insurance?
Tips for health care buyers
Experts offer guidance for buying health insurance under new health care law.
RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS: Dec. 16, 2013
MAUREEN HAYDEN: Meth labs so prevalent, test kits on market for homebuyers
Donetta Held knows how strange the world of methamphetamine is.
Linton meth lab bust ends in three arrests
Three Linton residents were arrested Thursday night on multiple controlled substance charges related to methamphetamine, according to Indiana State Police in Bloomington.
Banking on a unique location
One hole in the ceiling was shaped a little like Kentucky. Elsewhere there was peeling paint and small piles of old plaster. In short, the interior of the old bank building in Terre Haute’s historic 12 Points district had seen better days.
79-year-old injured when car, train collide
A Terre Haute man was injured Saturday when the mini van he was driving collided with a train in northern Vigo County.
ISU sends another class out into world
Thick, wet snow blanketed the city around Hulman Center late Saturday morning, as graduating Indiana State University students made their way inside to wrap up their college careers.
Inside, students shook off the snow and then posed for photographs with smiling and proud family and friends. In a few moments, they would be lining up to accept their degrees after years of study and work.
SMWC speaker urges graduates to ‘change the world’
A snow-covered campus provided a scenic backdrop for “Woodsies” who accepted their degrees Saturday afternoon at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Bennett says city budget can’t absorb biz tax loss
Mayor Duke Bennett is warning the City Council – and anyone else who will listen – about the impact to Terre Haute’s budget if Indiana’s business personal property tax is jettisoned by the state Legislature.
- More News Headlines
- Environmental concerns will shorten new trail along river — for now