General chronology for the Jacob
Schmidt Brewery, St. Paul, MN
Compiled by Susan Appel, Champaign, IL, June 2004
Chr. Stahlmann, 882
West 7th St.
Since I have not studied the Schmidt Brewery specifically, I
have not explored the possible sources of information that likely exist in the St.
Paul/Minneapolis area. What I can offer is an overview of the brewery’s ownership
and operational names and dates (from Van Wieren), and a series of references to
the involvement with the firm of a significant early 20th-century
brewery architect, Bernard Barthel, who was based in Chicago. Barthel comes into
my research as part of my effort to track the architects and engineers who created
a specialty in brewery design from the 1870s to the onset of Prohibition. Because
my research centers on pre-Prohibition brewery architecture, I’m afraid I can say
virtually nothing about what happened with the plant after 1920. Local historical
societies, libraries, and collectors of breweriana would probably be able to fill
in the more recent parts of the brewery’s history.
The primary architect for pre-Prohibition Schmidt, Bernard
Barthel, spent ten years (c. 1891/92-1901) in the Chicago office of Fred W. Wolf,
a true pioneer in professionalizing the field of brewery architecture and
engineering. In July 1901 Barthel announced that he was opening his own office in
Chicago and would “engage in designing and supervising the erection of industrial
plants of every description, making a specialty of breweries, malt houses, ice
making and refrigerating plants, etc. Having studied in Germany, where he received
a thorough technical training, which has been supplemented with abundant practical
experience while with the Wolf company, he is eminently fitted for the responsible
labors he has undertaken." [The Western Brewer
XXVI, 7 (July 1901): 302.]
The Schmidt brewery appears to have been Barthel’s first
commission on his own, which may help explain why it frequently appeared as a
featured illustration in his advertisements in trade journals and other
publications. I have tracked his career to 1915, finding over 150 references (some
are multiple references to the same project) to his work throughout the Midwestern
U.S., in several provinces of Canada, and with occasional forays to the
Mid-Atlantic and the Pacific Northwest. I assume he was ultimately caught up in
the issue of Prohibition, which pretty much eliminated his design specialty by
1920 (and undercut the business for several years prior to that). He died in 1934,
so survived to the era of the Repeal of Prohibition (which came in April 1933),
but clearly, he had no chance to benefit from that legal shift. His obituary
reads: "Bernard Barthel, architect, member of the Illinois Society of Architects
since 1920, died at his home, 3341 North Hamilton avenue, Chicago, on November 18,
aged 68 years. Born in Leipzig, Germany, he came to Chicago in 1892. He
specialized in brewery design and construction." [Illinois Society of
Architects Monthly Bulletin 19, Nos. 6-7 (December 1934-January 1935): 4.]
All that said, what follows is what I can provide concerning the
history of the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
* * * * *
[Dale P. Van Wieren, American Breweries II (West Point,
PA: Eastern Coast Breweriana Association, 1995), 176, Brewery number “MN 175”]
This volume lists the following stages of development of the
brewery generally known as Schmidt’s, St. Paul, MN. Given the final entry, it is
clear that the brewery was still functioning at the time of this book’s
MN 175 (commonly known as the
Jacob Schmidt brewery)
1882-1898 Chr. Stahlmann Brewing Co.
1898-1900 St. Paul Brewing Co.
1900-1920 Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
Prohibition, (1920-1933): Jacob Schmidt Co., Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
(under Permit #8, allowing it to brew malt beverages during prohibition)
1933-1954 Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
1954-1962 Pfeiffer Brewing co., dba Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co. (branch
of Pfeiffer Brewing Co., Detroit)
1962-1972 Associate Brewing Co. (branch of Pfeiffer, Detroit), aka
Pfeiffer Brewing Co., Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
1972-1990 G. Heileman Brewing Co., Inc., branch of G. Heileman Brewing
Co., La Crosse, WI
1990- Minnesota Brewing Co., aka: Pete’s Brewing Co. (1993- ); contract
beers brewed under arrangement for the following: Dakota Brewing Co., Black
Mountain Brewing Co. (Arizona), Pride Brewing Co.
Other details from S. Appel’s Files and Sources:
Note that the biographical and historical information from 1903’s
Years of Brewing (below) fills out the early stages of the chronological
outline above and helps explain the burst of building activity in 1901.
(brewery architect, Chicago), was reported to have made plans for a
new malt house and two ice houses for Chris. Stahlmann, 882 W.
7th St., St. Paul, MN. [The Western Brewer
VII, 7 (July 1882):
(brewery architect, Chicago), was reported to have made plans for a
Brew House, Machine House, Wash House, Barley & Malt Storage Elevator,
Malt House & Kiln, etc., for the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., St.
Paul, MN. The brew house was to have a 250-barrel outfit (meaning a
brew kettle of that capacity and all related equipment similarly
sized). The project was to cost $175,000. [Western Brewer
7 (July 1901): 274.]
The Western Brewer ran a full-column plus description of the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.’s
new brewery, then “in course of erection” and covering a site 299' x
151', and costing $175,000. The buildings were said to be arranged in
one block, with the wash, brew, machine and boiler houses along Palace
St., the stock houses, malt houses and storage elevator along Oneida
St., and the kiln & racking room "bounding the yard." Report notes
that "The compact arrangement has brought the cost of the plant to the
lowest possible point..." but says it is still well lighted,
ventilated and in compliance with state laws on factories. Sloping
ground made arrangement difficult, “but the problem was solved by the
architect in a very skillful way…” Barthel brought the three floors of
the brew house level with those in the machine house, stock house,
malt house and storage elevator, so no climbing of stairs is needed to
pass from one to the next. "The elevation shows a plain, substantial
building in the feudal castle style, and with its characteristic
turrets and battlements gives the building a commanding appearance."
Built with concrete and stone foundations (which were especially
difficult and, for the chimney, boiler and stock house, had to go 30'
deep to support weight above), brick walls above faced with buff
pressed brick and trimmed in blue Bedford limestone. There are
fireproof floors with asphalt finish in all buildings except the brew
and machine houses which have mosaic tile floors. The outfit was now
listed as of 300-barrel capacity, up from the July 1901 report (which
makes it what I’d call a solid mid-sized brewery in terms of capacity
for the date). Details of other equipment are given in the article.
The architect, Bernard Barthel (noted as headquartered at 1441-1443
Unity Building, Chicago), is here noted as having prepared the plans
and specificications for “this modern plant,” and also as having
personally supervised erection of the brewery. ["Modern Brewery in St.
Paul," The Western Brewer XXVI, 11 (November 1901): 452-453, p.
452 being a full-page engraving of the brewery, including a small
transverse section, a copy of which will be sent with this report.]
Brewery architect Bernard
Barthel reported as supervising the building of an extension to the
stock house of the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., St. Paul. [The
Western Brewer XXVII, 11 (November 1902): 440.]
In this large
compilation of the histories of a great many breweries, the Jacob
Schmidt Brewing Company, St. Paul is described as follows. “[p. 340]
In 1884 Jacob Schmidt, at that time foreman at the Hamm
Brewery, St. Paul, Minnesota, in partnership with a Mr. Constans,
bought out the Milwaukee Brewing Company and operated the plant, which
after 1896 [p. 342] was known as the North Star Brewing
Company. In 1901 the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company having been
incorporated and the plant of the St. Paul Brewing Company having been
purchased, the North Star Brewery was closed down. The plant of the
St. Paul Brewing Company was founded by Chr. Stahlmann in 1854
and was operated continuously till 1896, when it went into a
receiver’s hands, till November, 1897, when the St. Paul
Brewing Company was formed to operate it, being succeeded, as stated
above, by the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company, in January,
On a site adjoining the original Stahlmann brewery the Jacob Schmidt
Brewing Company have erected the modern plant shown in the
illustration on previous page, the same being equipped with a
300-barrel brew-house outfit and a large malt-house in connection.
Jacob Schmidt is by birth a Bavarian, and learned to brew in his
native land. In 1865, at the age of twenty, he came to America
and engaged at once with the Miller Brewery, Rochester, New York.
Coming west to Milwaukee, he worked successively in the Best [which
later became Pabst -- sa], Blatz and Schlitz breweries. About
1873 he went to New Ulm as foreman of the Schell brewery, and
having accumulated a little ready money he leased a plant at Mankato
and later on one at Berlin, Wisconsin (now the Berlin Brewing
Company). From Berlin he removed to St. Paul, being foreman of the
Banholzer plant, and after a short stay at the Keeley brewery in
Chicago, he settled permanently in St. Paul, where he purchased a
brewery in 1884, as stated above. Much of the marked success
which has attended Mr. Schmidt during his connection with brewing in
St. Paul must be attributed to the assistance he has received from Mr.
Adolph Bremer, his son-in-law, who occupies the position of general
manager of the business.” [One Hundred Years of Brewing, A
Supplement to The Western Brewer (Chicago and New York: H. S. Rich
& Co., 1903; reprint New York: Arno Press, 1974), 340-342, with p. 341
a full-page version of the 1901 Western Brewer illustration,
without the small transverse section image.]
Another report that
Bernard Barthel had prepared plan for five-story stock house for the
Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co. [The Western Brewer
(February 1903): 59 – this reference may well be to the same stock
house extension reported a few months earlier.]
Barthel’s advertisement incorporates an illustration of his design for
the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.’s plant. [The Brewers Hand-Book
for 1904, 40.]
The Jacob Schmidt Brewing
Co. is included in an extended list of references in ad for Barthel,
identified as architect & engineer, 1441-1443 Unity Bldg., 79 Dearborn
St., Chicago. [The Western Brewer XXXII, 1 (January 1907): 48.]