Excel Brewing Company

Excel Brewing Company
Excel Brewing Company
Breese, IL

-Lefty’s Lager
-Flash Bang Wheat

The Company

Excel Bottling Company produces flavored soda using cane sugar, returnable bottles, and vintage bottling equipment. The county’s favorite soft drink, Ski, was added in 1961 and accounts for the majority of soda produced. We are one of a few remaining “mom & pop” bottlers left in the nation and the only returnable bottling line left in Illinois. Aside from bottling soda, the plant produces syrup for use on fountain equipment.


Edward “Lefty” J. Meier and Catherine Meier founded Excel Bottling Company in the summer of 1936. Lefty had used the reward money that he obtained from catching a bank robber to purchase a used bottling machine. At the time, Lefty started bottling soda, two other soda plants were operating in Breese, IL. The Excel bottling plant and attached household were originally owned by Catherine’s grandmother (Mrs. Goellner) in which she had previously operated a general store.

Edward Meier passed away in 1996 and his wife Catherine continued to do the bookwork until age 97. Catherine recently passed away at age 99. She was quoted saying, “Eddie and I built our business selling one case of soda at a time.” Her spirit lives on through her sons and grandchildren.