April 3, 1906: Duluth brewery announces major expansion

On this day in Duluth in 1906, the Duluth news Tribune heralded a major expansion of the Duluth Brewing & Malt brewery complex in the West End at a cost of a $45,000, about $1.2 million in 2018. Chicago brewery architect Bernard Barthels, whose work include St. Paul’s Schmidt Brewery, designed a two-story addition to the 1896 wash house and another floor to a section of the original brew house to make room for two large coil-system beer coolers. A new $15,000 grinding mill could process 400 bushels of grain every ninety minutes, and so they also added a 400-gallon copper kettle—said to be the second largest brewing kettle in the U.S. at the time—ensuring the brewery could maintain its 150,000-barrel capacity. The expansion also included a $7,000 pasteurizing machine for the bottling works, a new grain dryer, and an ammonia-process ice machine. Local architect John J. Wangenstein oversaw construction. The expansion was necessary to meet growing demand. The same article describing the expansion noted that the brewery now shipped 200,00 bushels of malt to eastern breweries every year. Mash—the grain residue left behind after the brewing process—was once sold to local dairymen as cattle feed, but each week DB&M was sending a train car of it to Milwaukee, where brokers sold and shipped it to Germany. Duluth Brewing & Malt was one of four major breweries that operated at the Head of the Lakes by 1910, and it’s history—along with those of People’s, Fitger’s, and Northern in Superior will be told in our book Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth in Superior due out September 2018. In the meantime, you can read an overview of Duluth’s beer brewing history here.

Duluth Brewing & Malt ca. 1900. (Image: Zenith City Press)