Historic Beer Birthday: Eugene Hack

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Today is the birthday of Eugene Hack (November 18, 1840-June 12, 1916). He was born in Wurtenburg, Germany, but emigrated to Indiana and settled in Vincennes in 1868. In 1875, he and a partner, Anton Simon, bought a small brewery in Vincennes, Indiana from John Ebner, who had established in 1859. They continued to call it the Eagle Brewery, although it was also referred to as the Hack & Simon Eagle Brewery, though in 1918, its official name became the Hack & Simon Brewery, until closed by prohibition. The brewery briefly reopened after prohibition as the Old Vincennes Brewery Inc., but they appear to have never actually brewed any beer, before closing for good in 1934.

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Here’s Hack’s obituary, from the Brewers Journal, Volume 47, published in 1916:

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And this account is from “Vincennes in Picture and Story: History of the Old Town, Appearance of the New,” written by J.P. Hodge, and originally published in 1902.

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In 1859 the Eagle Brewery was established by John Ebner on Indianapolis Avenue in Vincennes, Indiana. It operated under his management until 1875 when it was sold to Eugene Hack and Anton Simon. They kept the name and added an eagle logo identifying their flagship brand. Hack and Simon successfully operated the brewery for decades. They were producing 18,000 barrels of beer a year and maintained five wagons and twelve head of horses for their local trade. In time they established five refrigerated beer depots in towns in Indiana and Illinois. The brewery was shut down by Indiana prohibitionary laws in 1918 and apparently not reopened in 1934 after Repeal.

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A brewery paperweight.

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Comments

  1. Megan Keleher Hack says

    I am married to Eugene Hack (known as Ti—we live in Gordonsville VA) who is the son of Eugene Hack (who lived in Weston CT until his death in 1997), who is the son of Otto Hack (who lived in New Rochelle NY until his death in mid 1940’s), who is the son of the Eugene Hack of Vincennes who started the Hack and Simon Brewery—-my husband’s great-grandfather! We have visited Vincennes and seen the old office (only bldg standing at original brewery location) and also gone inside the bldg and safe which was the German National Bank of Vincennes. It is wonderful to read this information online and to know that people still remember Eugene Hack from Vincennes, as we do—we have his framed photo (same as the one above) in our house and think of him so often. Thank you for writing this article.

    • Eben Lips says

      I recently purchased the “Hack Home” in Vincennes and wanted to message Mr and Mrs Hack thst if they are ever in Vincennes again and want to see the house just ring the doorbell. My wife Tara and I love the history of this house, and would love to host you for a visit. I trust you know the address.

  2. Megan Keleher Hack says

    Thank you, Tara and Eben, for your kind invitation to visit you in Eugene Hack’s house in Vincennes. When we were in Vincennes some years ago to see the Hack&Simon Brewery, the owner of your house at that time allowed us inside to walk around. Quite an amazing feeling to realize my husband’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother had lived in that very space—-it is a beautiful house with so many lovely embellishments and we hope you will be very happy living there with Hack Family spirits of the past.Thanks for getting in touch!

    Megan Hack

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