Prairie Chicken Beer

For a time in the early 1900s Kewanee had a brewery of substantial proportions, the Kewanee Brewing Company, and a beer named for its hometown. The brew was the popular “Prairie Chicken” beer and as we know the word “kewanee” is a Winnebago Indian word for prairie chicken.

In 1904 the Kewanee Brewing Company began making “the beer that makes the smile that won’t come off.” The owners were David Pollock and Frank Whiffen, the latter was Kewanee’s mayor from 1899 to 1903.

Located on the southeast corner of Main and Sixth Streets, the company’s large brewery was four stories tall, built at a cost of $40,000, and with the capacity for brewing 50 barrels of beer a day. It can be seen on the mural inside the oval that says Kewanee Brewing Company.

The brewery operated until national prohibition began in 1920. It was not re-opened when prohibition ended in 1933. Bottled water, ice and ice cream were produced there at different times and the building was eventually torn down.
 

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