After a 73-year banishment, local brand Deux Élans returns to the city as part of an urban core revitalization effort by entrepreneurs planning to convert derelict breweries into brew-pubs. The popular libation brewed by Lemuel Clevinger, nephew of brewer Voornaam Goossens, was officially banished in 1934 one year after the repeal of prohibition. Then-Mayor “Boss” Wilcox is said to have taken umbrage with the potent brew after blaming it for the conception of his ninth child, an event putting him out of favor with his wife, Nellie Stetson Wilcox. As a result, he revoked the brewery’s license. Clevinger moved his brewery to Pittsburgh, where his renamed product, Dewy Lands, remains popular with regional sports fans, especially members of local feather bowling teams.
There will be a ceremony this Friday, inaugurating new copper brew vessels in the long-derelict Deux Élans brewery at 2577 N. Grote Ave., the centerpiece of what Brewery Quarter Development Association president Ed Weissman calls “bottling row,” a series of warehouses in the old Belgian Quarter. But the ambition of Brewery Quarter members doesn’t stop with beer, Weissman said. Also slated is a combined velodrome and feather bowling alley on the site of the old Deacon & Sons Bicycle Works. When asked whether there was any truth to rumors about a planned re-hydration of the now dry Wooster Creek bed, Weissman said, “No comment. But I will say, we haven’t ruled it out as a possibility.”
– Cedric Rose