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Evansville Brewing Company.

The Sterling Brewery is open again in Evansville, thanks to the Evansville Brewing Company and attorney Mark Mattingly. This time the city hopes it is open to stay.

Evansville's landmark brewery closed in April after Sterling's owner, La Crosse, Wis.-based G. Heileman Brewing Company, was purchased by Austria's Bonn Brewery. Local businessmen, however, refused to let Sterling leave the city. They quickly banded together to form Evansville Brewing under President John Brzezinski. In August, Evansville Brewing, with Mattingly's help, assembled a $4.6 million financial package to purchase Sterling from Heileman and start the beer pouring again in September.

Mattingly says the battle to keep Sterling operating in Evansville has enjoyed a tremendous amount of popular support. Except for Fort Wayne's Falstaff Brewing Corp. plant, Sterling is the only brewery left in Indiana.

"Sterling's) an institution that's been in the community for 100 years," Mattingly says. "The brewery has a unique identity in the community--everybody would like to see the brewery maintained." He hopes the Sterling purchase will help retain other business in Evansville. Sterling itself employs 80 to 100 workers and sustains a number of suppliers in the area.

Evansville Brewing now is looking forward to the challenge of further opening up the market for its beer. In the past, Sterling carved out a local "niche" market for its specialty brands--particularly Wiedemann and Sterling. Without active promotion, Mattingly says, sales ran at around 500,000 barrels annually.

"We feel we can promote these brands and improve sales levels with promotion," he says. As it stands, Evansville Brewing's initial production level of half a million barrels a year already makes Sterling the ninth-larget producer of beer in the nation.
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Title Annotation:Briefs
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1988
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