Historic Beer Birthday: Hew Ainslie

Today is the birthday of Hew Ainslie (April 5, 1792–March 11, 1878) He is best remembered as a Scottish poet, although he came to America in 1822, settling first in upstate New York, before later moving west to Indiana. According to IndianaBeer.com, he co-founded Bottomley and Ainslie, the first brewery in New Albany, Indiana (which is near Louisville), at least from 1840-1841:

Hew Ainslie, an immigrant from Scotland and a well-known poet, joined the New Harmony community in 1825. When New Harmony folded went to Cincinnati where he opened a brewery. Later he opened a brewery in Louisville that was destroyed in the flood of 1832. He worked after that at the Nuttall brewery in Louisville.

Coming back across the Ohio River, he opened the Bottomley and Ainslie brewery in New Albany in 1840 which was destroyed by fire shortly thereafter. He was listed in the city directory as a maltster in 1841 and then dropped out of brewing. By 1842 he was working in a foundry.

The brewery continued without him, under various names, until prohbition, and eve re-opened after repeal, though only lasted another two years, closing for good in 1935. Here’s the chronology and some more history from the book “Hoosier Beer: Tapping Into Indiana Brewing History,” by Bob Ostrander and Derrick Morris.



There’s not a lot I could find, and the fullest account of Ainslie’s life was written by Conrad Selle for the FOSSILS newsletter, his local homebrew club, and happily was posted in 2005 on the Potable Curmudgeon’s blog.

Many early brewers worked their trade as a sideline or temporary trade before moving on to other occupations. Hew Ainslie is unique for having been principally a poet.

He was born at Bargany in Ayrshire, Scotland on April 5, 1792. Hew was the only son of George Ainslie, an employee on the estate of Sir Hew Dalrymple Hamilton. He was educated in the parish school at Ballantrae, and later at the academy at Ayr. In 1809 his family moved to Roslin, about six miles from Edinburgh. He married his cousin Janet Ainslie in 1812, whose brother Jock had married Hew’s sister Eleanora.

Ainslie studied law in Glasgow, and worked as a clerk in the Register House in Edinburgh. In 1820 he revisited Ayrshire on foot with James Wellstood and John Gibson and in the next two years wrote A Pilgrimage to the Land of Burns, which was published in London in 1822. The book was an account of their travels and visits with some of Robert Burns’s contemporaries, with songs and ballads by Ainslie that were much in the style of Burns, and illustrations by Wellstood.

In July, 1822, Ainslie sailed from Liverpool to New York with his friend Wellstood. Mrs. Ainslie and their three children joined him in the following year. Ainslie and Wellstood purchased Pilgrim’s Repose, a farm at Hoosac Falls in Rensselaer County, New York. Ainslie and his family lived there for almost three years before joining Robert Owen’s utopian socialist cooperative community at New Harmony, Indiana in 1825.

When Owen’s community failed about a year later they moved first to Cincinnati, where Ainslie became a partner with Price and (Thomas) Wood in a brewery, then to Louisville. In Louisville, a town of 7,000, Ainslie opened a brewery in 1829 at 7th Street between Water and Main. Records show that B. Foster, Enoch Wenzell and Robert McKenzie worked there.

In February, 1832 there was a major flood of the Ohio River, with the river’s waters rising to 46 feet above the low water level. A contemporary account of the “calamity” reads:

This was an unparalleled flood in the Ohio. It commenced on the 10th of February and continued until the 21st of that month, having risen to (an) extraordinary height … above low-water mark. The destruction of property by this flood was immense. Nearly all the frame buildings near the river were either floated off or turned over and destroyed. An almost total cessation in business was the necessary consequence; even farmers from the neighborhood were unable to get to the markets, the flood having so affected the smaller streams as to render them impassable. The description of the sufferings by this flood is appalling …

Ainslie’s brewery was swept away with most of the neighborhood, but in the following years he remained in the beer business, working at the Nuttall brewery on the west side of 6th Street between Water and Main.

In 1840 he opened the first brewery in New Albany, the partnership of Bottomley & Ainslie. Soon that business was destroyed by fire. In the 1841 Louisville City Directory, Hew Ainslie is listed as a maltster; it was his last listing in the brewing trade. Discouraged by fire and flood, he gave up the brewing business altogether. Thereafter, his working life became somewhat intertwined with that of his children, particularly George and James Wellstood Ainslie.

Hew and Janet Ainslie had ten children, seven of them surviving to adulthood. George Ainslie, the eldest Ainslie son, had been apprenticed to Lachan McDougall around 1830 to learn the iron foundry and moulding trade, and he had acquired a solid business and technical education. He became a foreman at John Curry’s foundry and married Mary Thirlwell, daughter of Charles Thirlwell, who was a brewer at the Nuttall Brewery (Hew Ainslie’s one-time employer).

Thirlwell eventually acquired Nuttall and operated it until 1856. In 1842, George Ainslie became a partner in Gowan and McGhee’s Boone Foundry. By 1845 Hew Ainslie — still a poet throughout — was employed as a finisher there as well as working as a contractor and in the building trades.

George and James Ainslie became highly successful in the foundry and machine business, enabling their father to devote more time to writing in later life. In 1853, Hew Ainslie made a long visit to New Jersey to visit members of the family of James Wellstood, undoubtedly providing the poet with a nostalgic link to the Scotland of his youth.

In 1855 a collection of Ainslie’s verse, Scottish Songs, Ballads and Poetry, was published in New York. One latter-day commentator called Ainslie’s songs of the sea “the best that Scotland has produced,” and perhaps this assessment was borne out by the reception accorded Ainslie in Scottish literary circles in 1863, when he returned to Scotland for a final visit.

Janet Ainslie died in 1863 prior to Hew’s last Scottish journey. In 1868 the elderly poet/brewer went to live with his son George in a new home on Chestnut Street (between 9th and 10th) in Louisville, where he spent the last decade of his life and was a familiar sight as he passed time tending the garden there. Ainslie died on March 6, 1878, and was eulogized in the Courier-Journal as “a poet of considerable merit to the people of his native land.” Hew and Janet Ainslie are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

In addition to the many accomplishments noted previously, Ainslie is remembered for his height — at 6 feet, 4 inches, he referred to himself in his works as “The Lang Linker” — and for never losing his Scottish accent during almost six decades in America.

There is no specific information to be found as to the products of the breweries with which Hew Ainslie was involved in Louisville and New Albany, but we can surmise from the available evidence that they were typical small breweries of the time, with four or five employees, making ale, porter and stout. As a man who appreciated truth and beauty, it is likely that Hew Ainslie made good malt, and being conscientious with it, good beer as well.


And this is a biography from a collection of poetry, The Scottish Minstrel, published in 1856.


Hew Ainslie was born on the 5th April 1792, at Bargeny Mains, in the parish of Dailly, and county of Ayr. Receiving the rudiments of education from a private teacher in his father’s house, he entered the parish school of Ballantrae in his tenth year, and afterwards became a pupil in the academy of Ayr. A period of bad health induced him to forego the regular prosecution of learning, and, having quitted the academy, he accepted employment as an assistant landscape gardener on the estate of Sir Hew Dalrymple Hamilton. At the age of sixteen he entered the writing chambers of a legal gentleman in Glasgow, but the confinement of the office proving uncongenial, he took a hasty departure, throwing himself on the protection of some relatives at Roslin, near Edinburgh. His father’s family soon after removed to Roslin, and through the kindly interest of Mr Thomas Thomson, Deputy-Clerk Register, he procured a clerkship in the General Register House, Edinburgh. For some months he acted as amanuensis to Professor Dugald Stewart, in transcribing his last work for the press.

Having entered into the married state, and finding the salary of his office in the Register House unequal to the comfortable maintenance of his family, he resolved to emigrate to the United States, in the hope of bettering his circumstances. Arriving at New York in July 1822, he made purchase of a farm in that State, and there resided the three following years. He next made a trial of the[Pg 61] Social System of Robert Owen, at New Harmony, but abandoned the project at the close of a year. In 1827 he entered into partnership with Messrs Price & Wood, brewers, in Cincinnati, and set up a branch of the establishment at Louisville. Removing to New Albany, Indiana, he there built a large brewery for a joint-stock company, and in 1832 erected in that place similar premises on his own account. The former was ruined by the great Ohio flood of 1832, and the latter perished by fire in 1834. He has since followed the occupation of superintending the erection of mills and factories; and has latterly fixed his abode in Jersey, a suburb of New York.

Early imbued with the love of song, Mr Ainslie composed verses when a youth on the mountains of Carrick. A visit to his native country in 1820 revived the ardour of his muse; and shortly before his departure to America, he published the whole of his rhyming effusions in a duodecimo volume, with the title, “Pilgrimage to the Land of Burns.” A second volume from his pen, entitled, “Scottish Songs, Ballads, and Poems,” was in 1855 published at New York.

Here, for example is one Ainslie’s poems,

The Daft Days

The midnight hour is clinking, lads,
An’ the douce an’ the decent are winking, lads;
Sae I tell ye again,
Be’t weel or ill ta’en,
It’s time ye were quatting your drinking, lads.
Gae ben, ‘an mind your gauntry, Kate,

Gi’es mair o’ your beer, an’ less bantry, Kate,
For we vow, whaur we sit,
That afore we shall flit,
We’se be better acquaint wi’ your pantry, Kate.
The “daft days” are but beginning, Kate,

An we’re sworn. Would you hae us a sinning, Kate?
By our faith an’ our houp,
We will stick by the stoup
As lang as the barrel keeps rinning, Kate.

Thro’ hay, an’ thro’ hairst, sair we toil it, Kate,
Thro’ Simmer, an’ Winter, we moil it, Kate;
Sae ye ken, whan the wheel
Is beginning to squeal,
It’s time for to grease an’ to oil it, Kate.

Sae draw us anither drappy, Kate,
An’ gie us a cake to our cappy, Kate;
For, by spiggot an’ pin!
It’s waur than a sin
To flit when we’re sitting sae happy, Kate.

And here’s an excerpt from another, suggesting meetings in Ainslie’s day were as pointless as today. This is from “Let’s Drink To Our Next Meeting:”

Let’s drink to our next meeting, lads,
Nor think on what’s atwixt;
They’re fools wha spoil the present hour
By thinking on the next.

Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Metcalfe

Today is the birthday of Joseph Metcalfe (February 28, 1832-?). There’s very little information I could find about Joseph Metcalfe. He appears to have been born in Yorkshire, England and was a brewer who owned breweries in both Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany, Indiana, which is just across the Ohio River from Louisville.

He’s mentioned, curiously, in Germans in Louisville, in the prehistory of the town, from a German perspective.


And again similarly in an Encyclopedia of Louisville:


Here’s the story from IndianaBeer.com:

Colonel Joseph Metcalfe started a brewery in New Albany in 1847 which he sold to William Grainger in 1856 who sold it to Paul Reising in 1857. Reising sold it to Martin Kaelin in 1861 who renamed it Main Street Brewery. This was a two-story building of 40×60 feet with two lagering cellars. It employed five men who made 3,600 bbls by 1868.


And this is how he’s mentioned in Hoosier Beer: Tapping Into Indiana Brewing History:


Tavern Trove has a slightly different timeline for the brewery, as do a number of sources.

Joseph Metcalfe Brewery 1847-1857
William Grainger 1857-aft 1857
Paul Reising Aft. 1857-1861
Martin Kaelin, Main Street Brewery 1861-1882
Louis Schmidt, Main Street Brewery 1882-1883
Hornung and Atkins, Main Street Brewery 1883-1886
Jacob Hornung, Main Street Brewery 1886-1889
Indiana Brewing Co. 1889-1895
Pank-Weinmann Brewing Company. 1895-1899
Merged with the Southern Indiana Ice and Beverage Co. of New Albany, Indiana in 1899


This is Metcalfe’s brewery shortly after he had sold it to Paul Reising.


The brewery crew when it was the Paul Riesing Brewery.


Beer In Ads #1135: Challenge The World

Wednesday’s ad is for The Kamm & Schellinger Brewing Co., from Mishawaka, Indiana. It’s from the 1880s, and seems like a very confident ad, what with having a roaring lion straddling the entire Earth and the slogan “Challenge the World.” Since chances are you’ve never heard of them, I think they may not have won that challenge. World 1, Kamm & Schellinger 0.


Congratulations To The Craft Beer President

Okay, last political post for the next four years. Well, maybe not that long, but I’m probably as tired of the political cycle as you are reading me going on about it. With the election finally over, we can get back to what really matters: drinking beer. So, one final congratulations to the Craft Beer President (with a link to an Indiana student paper article from September), and now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Illustration by Ben Wade, from the Indiana Daily Student’s Weekend in Bloomington.

Indiana Beer

Today in 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.


Indiana Breweries

Indiana Brewery Guides

Guild: Brewers of Indiana Guild

State Agency: Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission


  • Capital: Indianapolis
  • Largest Cities: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Gary
  • Population: 6,080,485; 14th
  • Area: 36420 sq.mi., 38th
  • Nickname: Hoosier State
  • Statehood: 19th, December 11, 1816


  • Alcohol Legalized: December 5, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 38
  • Rank: 16th
  • Beer Production: 4,154,936
  • Production Rank: 17th
  • Beer Per Capita: 20.2 Gallons


Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 39.2%
  • Cans: 51.6%
  • Kegs: 9%

Beer Taxes:

  • Per Gallon: $0.12
  • Per Case: $0.26
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $3.57
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $3.57

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $38,672,825
  • Direct Impact: $1,154,626,759
  • Supplier Impact: $437,356,994
  • Induced Economic Impact: $826,069,137
  • Total Impact: $2,418,052,890

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: On Premises: 7 a.m.–3 a.m.
    Off Premises: 7 a.m.–3 a.m. No sale on Sunday
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: Sales limited to on-premises in restaurants, wineries and breweries on Sundays. No sales on Christmas. Minors, including babies, are not allowed to enter a liquor store. No sales of cold beer in grocery stores or gas stations. ID must be presented for all off-premises sales as of July 1, 2010 per IC 7.1-5-10-23. (Outdated as of 1 July 2011)


Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.

Beer In Art #87: Paul Wehr’s Drewrys Beer

Today’s work of art was originally advertising art, illustration really, but it’s so good it deserves to be considered fine art. Paul Wehr was an artist/illustrator from Indiana who lived from 1914-1973. This piece, for Drewrys Beer of South Bend, Indiana was done in the 1950s. Drewrys was actually a Canadian brand, but for most of its history was brewed in Indiana. That’s why you can see a Canadian Mountie in the logo. I love hyperrealists — artists like Richard Estes and Ralph Goings — and Wehr’s work reminds me of theirs. Though arguably not quite as photo-realistic, it does seem to presage that art movement and the detail is amazing. I’d love to see how the final ad looked, but alas all I could fine was the artwork Wehr did, a beautiful looking picnic laid out with Drewry beer cans in the center.


In the detailed look below, you can even see the salt on the potato chips. Yum, I’m hungry.


You can also read more about Drewry’s cans at Rusty Cans.

A Visit To Three Floyds

Today, of course, is the annual Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana. Since many people will not have a golden ticket and be waiting in line to buy this year’s Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, here’s a little tour of the brewery I took the Sunday after CBC a couple of weeks ago. Three Floyds’ sales manager Lincoln Anderson was kind enough to drive Sean Paxton and me from our hotel in Chicago (and then dropped us off at the airport, thanks Lincoln) after we spent a thoroughly enjoyable few hours n Munster drinking and eating. I knew the beer would be good, I’d had plenty of it before, but I was blown away with how good the food was. Even the frites were top notch (look for a frites review soon) but everything else on the diverse menu we tried was spectacular. The walls were decorated with beer labels and cool original graffiti art. For a lazy Sunday afternoon, the brewpub filled up quickly with tourists, young couples and even families obviously just come from church.

We also had a chance to walk around in the brewery. It was fun to see the Lagunitas fermenters again that Tthree Floyds had bought from them, especially Kaboom. I also shot a short video tour of the brewery, which is below. Happy Dark Lord Day.

While we were there, preparations for Dark Lord Day were well under way, and Lincoln explained to us what else would be added, just for the day’s activities. One hiccup was that during a CBC tour it appears someone stole a bottle of Dark Lord 2010 and had put it up on eBay. Rawmar2 from Spring Grove, Illinois sold it for $12,800, though I suspect that was a false bid so no one could buy it. Even though an eBay win is a contract, it couldn’t be enforced if the goods being sold were stolen.

Three Floyds Entrance
At the entrance to the brewery.

Dark Lord Day banner from 2009
A Dark Lord Banner from 2009 hangs in the brewery.

Below is a slideshow of the Three Floyds Brewery. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.

A here’s a short video of me walking through the brewery.