The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 3, 1920
Undercover “Brewery” in City; Confiscate 1,000 Pints of Beer
Raid Farmers’ Exchange; Two Owners Held
Drink Was Brewed in an Old Ice Box
Dr. Jones Examines to Determine Percentage Alcohol
More than 1,000 pints of beer, brewed in an old ice box in the Farmers’ Exchange, 509 First avenue south, were confiscated last night and Albert Kruse and J.L. Dunivan, proprietors, arrested to face charges of alleged illegal manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, brought by both state and federal authorities.
Kruse and Dunivan today were each released on $500 cash bonds by county authorities and Police Judge H.W. Stowe; rearrested by C.C. Metz, one of three federal prohibition enforcement commissioners in Fort Dodge, and released on an additional $500 bond apiece by United States Commissioner James Martin. It is expected that both the state, through County Attorney V.E. Gabrielson, and United States authorities will prosecute the case.
Sheriff George S. Bassett and Deputy W.H. McDaniel secured several sample bottles of the brew shortly before 6 p.m. yesterday on a search warrant. A test by Dr. S.D. Jones revealed an alcohol content of about three per cent. Two hours later Kruse and Dunivan were arrested and the building closed. Fort Dodge police guarded the place during the night.
Bound to Grand Jury.
Both were bound over to the grand jury next week for trial during the March term of Webster county district court if indicted. The state law provides a maximum penalty of $1,000 for conviction on the charge of illegal manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor. There is no jail sentence.
“We will prosecute the men in addition to whatever federal prohibition authorities may do,” County Attorney Gabrielson said. “We have and continue to stand ready to cooperate with federal authorities in every case of this kind.
On the part of the government authorities the case is equally clear, Mr. Martin said. Both waived preliminary examination on advice of their attorney, J.R. Files, and were released on bonds to appear before the federal grand jury in United States district court, which convenes in Fort Dodge June 8.
In removing the liquor and brewing apparatus from the building federal authorities encountered a snag in the prohibition enforcement law, which fails to provide funds for such removal and storage until after the trial of the men when the liquor can be destroyed. Assistant United States Attorney Seth Thomas wired authorities in Washington for a ruling.
Sheriff Bassett was ready with a search warrant and declared he was ready to remove the liquor if federal authorities were not able to do so.
Largest Raid in History.
The raid is the “largest” ever made in Fort Dodge, authorities said. suspicion that beer containing more than 1 1/2 per cent alcohol was being sold, centered about the place since last summer. It is believed that the scope of the business was gradually increased until it reached the dimensions of a small brewery, passing under the name of a soft drink parlor. A dozen witnesses have been obtained to testify that the brew had a “kick.” No definite information was received until the beer was tested late yesterday.
Bottled in Many Bonds.
The brewing apparatus resembled in all respects a small brewery authorities said. More than 200 pint bottles of beer were kept on ice under the bar. In a room to the rear 600 more bottles were stored in shelves covered in the front with cheese cloth. Bottles of every size and description were used, several being labeled Washington Brewing company, Washington, D.C. Some of the metal caps were marked “Lemon Sour, artificially colored,” and were clamped on with a small patented capping machine. Others were old root beer, ginger ale, soft drink caps; some were plain.
An old ice box in the rear of the store contained the brewery. A burning oil heater kept the room at a temperature of about 80 degrees. Five barrels of beer were in process of fermentation, giving off an odor identical with that perceived near large brewing vats. An inventory taken by Deputy W.H. McDaniel shows the contents of the brewery as follows:
About 300 pounds of sugar in “Rolled white oats” sacks.
Five barrels of brew in the making.
Fifteen cases (350 15 ounce packages) raisins.
One barrel and four packages of hops.
Four dozen large packages of a Cedar Rapids brand of yeast.
One bushel shelled corn.
Two barrels of syrup.
Two hundred bottles of beer aging on the shelves, the supply of pint bottles evidently having run out.
A small still, used to start the fermentation process in the mash before pouring it into the barrels and adding water.
Authorities found numerous evidences that a prosperous business was built up. Along side of the cash register back of the bar were five water glasses filled with pennies, the proceeds from a day’s war taxes. Mr. Dunivan when asked to deposit bail, displayed a $2,000 certificate of deposit made at intervals during the last month with a Fort Dodge bank.
Customers began arriving early today while federal, county and city authorities were examining the place by daylight, snapping pictures and taking inventory.
A man breezed in as if the place was his familiar hangout, but detected something wrong and loitered near the door. A minute later a former service man, wearing an army overcoat and hat, stepped up to the bar.
“I’m afraid we can’t accommodate you today,” a federal agent said to him.
“Oh — I didn’t want anything. I was just waiting for somebody.”
He picked up the other man and as they passed out of the door two more seekers of the home brew were encountered. They turned away when the service man whispered, “Stay out of there today.”
No Rolls Today.
Five minutes later a baker rushed through the door with the customary morning supply of hot buns piled high on a big tray.
“Sorry, old man, we can’t use those today. There’ll be no hot lunch served here today, it’ll all be over in the jail,” the federal agent said.
The lunch counter testified to the abrupt departure of the proprietors. A pot of wienies, cold and unappetizing was standing on the shaky gas burner behind the bar. A dozen rolls, some cut open ready to be made into “hot dogs,” and a dried out half jar of mustard decorated the lunch board.
On the shelf in front of the bar mirror were a dozen bottles of home made wine, partially empty, with an odor resembling vinegar. A gallon bottle of “wine” had turned to pure vinegar.
Take Alcohol Tester.
An “alcohol tester,” which Kruse alleged was used to test the per cent alcohol in the brew to see that it contained mo more than one-half of one percent, was found in a neat box under the bar. Authorities said it was nothing more than a specific gravity tube, worthless for making an alcohol contest test.
(Editor’s note: the word contest in the last sentence should probably be content.)
Tags: 1920, alcohol, Bassett, Dunivan, Files, Gabrielson, Jones, Kruse, Martin, McDaniel, Metz, police, prohibition, Stowe, Thomas