‘It will show you a little secret’: Workers uncover hidden piece of Indy brewing history

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A piece of Indy history has been uncovered after being forgotten for a hundred years.

The pre-Prohibition relic was found hidden in a century-old home.

Electrical workers were re-wiring the house during a remodeling project when they came across a beer bottle deep in a basement crawlspace.

“Every once in a while one of them will start to like you, and it will show you a little secret," Signal Electric Services owner Dylan Ratzsch said of his work on historic homes. “This house must have really liked us."

The paper label read "Home Brewing Company."  The Indy staple folded in the 1920s when Prohibition hit, which makes the relic roughly a hundred years old.  The company's former building currently houses Indiana City Brewing Company.

“Early 1900s when Prohibition happened, the Home Brewing Company tried to start making 'near beer,' but unfortunately there wasn’t a demand for it, and they had to close their doors," Indiana City Brewing Company sales director Nicole Kaikis said. “Just seemed like a really natural progression for the brewery to end up here.”

Inside the brewery now is a sign bearing a quote from the owners of Home Brewing Company to customers at the start of Prohibition: "The day will again dawn upon Indiana when a man can drink what he wants, when personal liberty will be again a citizen's right."

The home's new owners are planning to give the bottle to Indiana City Brewing Company.  So far the brewery has a few Home Brewing bottles in its collection, but none of the bottles we saw have a paper label.  This current find likely kept its label intact by staying hidden from the sun and rain.

“Water is death to paper," Ratzsch said, “Maybe it just used me to try to get back home. Who knows?”

In addition to the bottle, Ratzsch and his crew also found several other items hidden in the walls and beneath floor boards.  Within the walls, they discovered three, possibly century-old, right-footed shoes.  Ratzsch said this can be common in historic homes, adding that the owners used to do this to as a good luck charm or to ward off bad spirits.  Near the beer bottle, they also found an old bottle of medicine; the label said it was from a pharmacy near East New York Street and DeQuincy.  The contents included 90-proof alcohol and morphine.

"So, pretty well knock your socks off whatever was wrong with you," Ratzsch said.

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