Katz Premium Beer

If you cruise the internet looking for a Katz Premium Beer can, you will find that it was produced by a variety of breweries including Best Brewing of Chicago IL, Associated Brewing of Evansville IN, Drewrys of South Bend, IN and Sterling Brewing of Evansville IN. Each of these facilities did produce the label that graces your shirt this month, as part of a contract famously producing beer for Katz Drug Stores.

To understand this diverse production of Katz beer, we had to familiarize ourselves with some Canadian brewing history. E.L. Drewry was a native of St. Paul, MN who had explored the river system into Canada via canoe, and he saw opportunity in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He relocated his family here in 1875 and started his brewing company that same year. The Drewry beer became famous across Western Canada, and the expanding production helped boost the local economy. Drewry, himself, had quite the reputation in Winnipeg, holding a variety of political positions and sitting on hospital boards. He is also known for planting the famous Elm trees that line the streets in Winnipeg.

Upon the repeal of Prohibition in the USA, Drewry began to look at expanding his brewing across the border. In 1936, he purchased the Sterling Brewers of Evansville plant, and the first case produced was sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his role in ending Prohibition. Around this same time, Drewry also acquired the Muessel Brewery in South Bend, IN and established a separate US based company known as Drewrys Ltd. USA of South Bend IN.

The original Drewry brewery in Winnipeg closed in 1940 and is now the site of Molson Coors. Shortly thereafter, E.L. Drewry died, but his company continued to expand and acquired other breweries in Chicago and New York City. They ceased operation in 1972 when the company was sold. The Drewrys’ brand was relocated back to its Evansville origin and produced as a value beer until 1997 when it was sold to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.