March 23, 1878: Minnesotian reports Duluth brewer loses 180 kegs of beer

On this day in Duluth in 1878, the Duluth Minnesotian reported that brewer Mike Fink lost 180 kegs of beer in Brewery Creek: “The addition containing the beer cooler of Mr. Fink, in which was about 180 kegs of beer, was undermined by Brewery Creek, and on Wednesday night fell down, spilling the beer into the brook and wrecking the building. It is estimated that the loss to Mr. Fink is altogether about $400 [over $10,000 today]. We warn Good Templars and Blue Ribbon folks not to go fishing on Brewery Creek below the brewery as it would look suspicious; possibly that brook may now start a bar at its mouth.” “Good Templars and Blue Ribbon folks” were those who abstained from alcohol. It wouldn’t be the last time a Duluth newspaper could not resist including bad puns in stories about alcohol finding its way in Lake Superior. In 1920, after Duluth officials dumped $30,000 of confiscated liquor down the drain at police headquarters, the paper quoted Safety Commissioner William Murnian who joked with a Duluth News Tribune reporter that, “If some of the gulls start climbing the aerial bridge today, don’t be surprised, they’ve been drinking out of the Second Avenue sewer outlet.” In 1929 officials dumped 305 gallons of liquor into the drain at City Hall, and the Duluth Herald joked that the liquor was “stimulating the fish in Lake Superior.”

This advertisement for Fink’s Brewery appeared in the Duluth Tribune throughout most of 1881. (Image: Zenith City Press)