Peoria has long since attained a leadership position in brewing and distilling interests, and its output along those lines exceeds any other city of equal size in the country. At the head of its enterprise are men of marked business ability, keen discernment and unfaltering energy — men who recognize the possibilities of trade and utilize each opportunity for its full worth.
George H. Gipps is a representative of this class, and his position in the business circles of the city is that of general agent for the Terre Haute Brewing Company. He has been identified with the brewing trade since he completed his education. He was born near Morton, Tazewell county, Illinois, on August 3, 1863, on the farm belonging to his father, John Mathuen Gipps. John came from England to the New World in 1845 and traveled to the country's interior, settling upon a tract of land near Morton, Illinois. He successfully engaged in farming there for several years, watching his expenditures carefully. When he had sufficient capital, he embarked on the brewing business in Peoria, engaging in that line of trade in about 1864.
George was associated with Mr. Howe in the establishment and management of a little ale brewery, which was afterward moved to the foot of Bridge street, where the large plant of the Gipps Brewing Company stood. Gradually he developed a business of extensive proportions. As his trade increased, he enlarged his facilities and, in time, drew his patronage from a vast territory. He was president of the Gipps Brewing Company at the time of his death, November 27, 1881, at sixty-three. His wife, Ellen Dawson, was also a native of England, and they were married in New York City in 1852. They had two children, the elder being Mrs. Bessie Smith, the wife of C.B. Smith of Peoria. The mother passed away in this city in 1898.
George H. Gipps was but six years of age when the family left the farm and took up residency in Peoria so that his education was acquired in the schools of this city, which he attended until he left high school to become an active factor in business life.
George was offered the opportunity to enter the establishment of the Gipps Brewing Company, and he did so, thoroughly acquainting himself with every part of the trade. He remained there until 1885 when he became associated with the Union Brewing Company, of which he was secretary for 15 years. He then withdrew from that connection to accept the agency and position of manager with the Terre Haute Brewing Company in 1900. He has been connected with this corporation as its general agent, having supervised extending its trade relations. The position is an enormous responsibility and involves the most critical considerations and duties, for which Mr. Gipps's long experience has prepared him well.
In 1888 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Gipps and Miss Jennie V. Tripp, a daughter of R.H. Tripp. They had two children, Charles M. and Della T.
Mr. Gipps has advanced to a high position as a Mason. He had served as high priest of Peoria Chapter for three years, as a Knight Templar Mason and was a member of the Mystic Shrine. He also belonged to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He had various other social relations, including a member of the South Side Turners, the Concordia Singing Society and the Creve Coeur Club. His social qualities have made him famous, while his business ability has gained prominence.
From 1837 until the 1980s, Peoria played a significant role in beer production.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.