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Belleville

Frank Brewery c. 1870-1918

One of three breweries in Austin County, the Frank Brewery lasted until the beginning of Prohibition. Fred Frank ran the brewery from 1872 until 1877. From 1877 to 1879, the brewery was known as the F. J. Frank & Bro. Brewery. From 1879 to 1880 it was the F. Frank Jr. Brewery. In 1880 Henry Frank was in charge. In 1882, Herman Frank took over. Originally, the Frank brewery produced top fermenting beer, or ale, but switched over to the more popular lager style. The brewery first appears in the Federal Tax records in 1872, but the 1870 Census listed a brewery in Bellville.

The brewery was started by Fritz Frank who had been a brewer in Germany. He made his living selling his beer in the predominantly German community. A "mom and pop" operation, the Frank Brewery was never large, but it was certainly long lived. It is one of five breweries in operation in 1875 that lasted until 1918. The brewery was located on the Frank farm about two miles north of the courthouse. When Herman Frank, Fritz's son took over the brewery, he also operated a racetrack on the farm to promote his beer.

When Prohibition closed the brewery, the Franks buried their clay beer bottles, mostly made in England or Scotland, in the old vat. The land has since passed out of the Frank family's hands, and there is no trace of the brewery today.