April 26, 1928: Death of Fitger’s Brewery founder Percy Shelley Anneke

On this day in Duluth in 1928 Percy Shelley Anneke, who with August Fitger established the Fitger & Co. Lake Superior Brewery in 1885, died in Alhambra, California. He was seventy-eight years old. Named by his mother for the British poet, Anneke was born in Milwaukee in 1850 after his  parents fled the German revolution of 1848. His father, Fritz Anneke, was a radical journalist and a friend of Karl Marx who would become colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. His mother Mathilde was a pioneer feminist of both Germany and the U.S., and Susan B. Anthony claimed Mathilde inspired her to become a suffragist. Percy chose the calmer life of an accountant, and in 1880 he began work for Voechting, Shape & Co., bottlers of beer brewed by Milwaukee’s Joseph Schlitz and Co. Brewery. Anneke’s work may have brought him to St. Louis, where he met his future wife Lydia Spaeter and brewer August Fitger. In 1883, six months after Fitger came to Duluth to brew for Mike Fink, Fitger purchased half of the brewery and arranged a very speculative business agreement with Anneke and Fink: Once he had the funds, Anneke would buy the other half from Fink. Shortly after Mahtilde Anneke died in 1884, Anneke married Lydia, paid Fink for his half of the brewery, and moved to Duluth. The brewing outfit then became the A. Fitger & Co. Lake Superior Brewery. Learn more about the history of beer brewing in Duluth and Superior in our book, Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth in Superior.

Percy Shelley Anneke. (Image: Fitger‘s Complex)

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