September 19, 1881: Construction Begins on the Lake Superior Brewery

On this day in Duluth in 1881, construction began on Michael Fink’s Lake Superior Brewery on the East 600 block of Superior Street. Fink had purchased the brewery business in 1875 from Nicholas Decker, who had purchased it from Sidney Luce ten years earlier—Luce had financed the brewery in 1857, with J. Gottlieb Busch doing the brewing with water taken from a nearby creek later named Brewery Creek. One local newspaper reported that, “Ground was yesterday broken for Alderman Fink’s new brewery. The site is on Superior Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue East. The building is to be seventy by seventy, three stories high and veneered with brick… Mr. Fink’s intention is to put up a building that should be second to none in the state for the purpose intended and will furnish it with all the improvements known to modern breweries. The building is to be ready for occupancy about the middle of November. And to accomplish this, a large force of men will be put on and the work of construction rushed forward with a whip.” That same year Fink, a city alderman, also hired August Fitger to be his brewmaster; less than six months later Fitger purchased half of the brewery, and in 1885 he and Percy Anneke would take full ownership. Discover the complete history of beer brewing in Duluth and Superior here.

Mike Fink’s Lake Superior Brewery, which became the first home of Fitger’s brewery. (Image: C & R Johnson Collection)