Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Illinois has been a community staple for as long as residents can remember. Now they are being put on regional and national maps with their line of pure cane sugar sodas and homemade brews. A tour of the facility shows their production and gives a sneak peek into their family history.
It all started with a bank robbery…
In 1936, Edward “Lefty” Meier aided the local police to catch a bank robber. He decided to use the award money to purchase a bottling machine and Excel was born. He and his wife, Catherine Bruegge Meier, set up shop in Catherine’s grandmother’s home. The house is still there but has expanded into a modern bottling and brewery plant. Excel is one of the few independently owned bottlers in the nation.
Tour the Plant
The small town of Breese is a great place to visit. With local eateries like Dairy Queen and Wally’s Drive-In, it’s the perfect place to drive into for some lunch and soda. During the tour, visitors get to see the entire production process. From washing the bottles and mixing the soda to filling and labeling everything is done at this location. Also on site, they have expanded to the brewing sector. Visitors can get an up-close experience with brewing and learn more about Excel’s process.
After the tour, guests are invited into their store where you can try the sodas and mix and match your own case to take home.
Return Your Bottles
Excel is the only returnable bottling line remaining in Illinois. Many locals swear that the soda tastes different in the returnable bottles because of the thick glass and original bottle washing machine from Lefty. You don’t have to purchase the returnable bottles, they also have plastic and throw away glass.
About their Products
Excel has a very impressive portfolio and has a product everyone will enjoy. Locals rave about the Ski Original, while many others love the Blueberry Breese, Million Dollar Orange, and Frostie Root Beer. If you don’t drink soda, don’t fret. In 2017 they released a line of Sparkling Water made with natural flavors. On the beer side, the Lefty’s Lager, East Side IPA, and Flash Bang are among the most popular year-round brews. Seasonal brews include Happy Valentine, Oktoberfest, and Winter Warmer. Make sure to visit their website for more information on all their products including what’s being produced seasonally.
Plan Your Visit
Ready to check out Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Illinois? Breese is located off Highway 50 in between Carlyle and Trenton. It is a 48-minute drive from St. Louis, MO or Vandalia, IL. Click here for directions.
Also, make sure to follow them on Facebook for more information about their products.