Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Scarr1335

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<Menomonie, Wisconsin History   

Breweries are a place where beer is made.   

Breweries have been a major part of the growth and expansion of the Menomonie, WI area. The breweries brought settlers to the area that normally would not have settled in the area. Back in the mid-1800's breweries were a way of bringing communities together to a common venue at the end of the day. The brewers or founders of the breweries were usually white males that had came from a mostly German, Polish, or Norwegian heritage.   

The beer from these breweries was often hand delivered to people or businesses that purchased by way of horse and buggies. It was usually packed in old wood crates and delivered one by one. The breweries were mainly located on what was known as brewery road which was known as one of the main roads in the area. The breweries were major tourist attractions to people trying to find places to settle and they were very effective because of where they were located and the heritage of the settlers.   

There were at one point up to 3 or 4 major breweries in the area. They helped advance the area and make it into what it is today. The breweries have and always will be an important part of the area and will continue to bring interest and expansion.   

First Major Breweries[edit | edit source]

Menomonie, WI, which has largely been known as a logging town, also had major impact from some of the earliest breweries; first of which being the Hudson Road Brewery or the Burkhardt Brewery. This brewery along with a few others played a major role in getting the town settled and up and running. In 1806 the Burkhardt brothers purchased Rolleff and Wagner Brewery and operated it under the name of The Hudson Road Brewery. The area quickly began growing in interest, not because of just the logging but also the brewing. There was once a point that the brewery was producing at least 10,000 barrels a year and up to 60,000 barrels of beer each year. It quickly became known as not only one of the best breweries in the area and the state but as well as the country. Although the brewery was immensely popular for the area it was not the only brewery. At the west end of what is known today as 12th avenue used to be known as brewery hill. It was operated by a man named Christian Fuss who's brewery was located at the top of the hill and overlooked his beer garden as well the Red Cedar trail. The main reason this brewery could compete with the Burkhardt brothers' brewery was because of its location. It was located on a major road for people who were passing through and had a great scenery. These two breweries together helped bring added interest to the area.

Major Breweries[1]

Impact of State Breweries on Breweries in the Menomonie Area[edit | edit source]

Wisconsin has always been known as the dairyland state and rightfully so; but what many people don't know is that the brewing industry is a close second and it has been like that for centuries. Much of the state's breweries have and are still located around the Milwaukee area which made a lot of the attraction for breweries in the area stop there. Even with this, it didn't stop the entire state's brewery population from increasing, including Menomonie, WI. Much of this had to do with the fact that Wisconsin had a lot of German, Polish, and Norwegian immigrants who were coming from a place where drinking beer was very much a social convention and was deemed to be just part of life. Because of this it became a way of life in Wisconsin as well making it one of the premier brewing states in the country and it still maintains that title. Breweries were popping up so fast the towns and cities began to grow along them, much like here in Menomonie, which along with the logging industry made it into what it is today.

History of Breweries and Alcohol in the Menomonie Area and Wisconsin[edit | edit source]

Although breweries were a big hit right away in Wisconsin it was not always easy sailing.  Even though much of Wisconsin’s settlers were German immigrants, its first settlers were prominently from the New England area which was a stronghold for temperance and temperance societies.  Temperance societies are societies that are largely against alcohol as well as brewing it. They began to form all over the state and especially in the center of the state's brewing industry, Milwaukee. Many northern states began to pass prohibition laws, and although Wisconsin didn’t go that far, the laws they did pass made it harder for the sale of alcohol and made tavern owners and breweries more responsible for their alcohol and alcohol sales.  The battle between the German immigrants and the temperance societies was not just about those who wanted to drink and those who didn’t.  It had to do with the idea that alcohol and drinking was a part of the German culture and heritage, and something they weren’t willing to give up. Even with the laws that the German immigrants and the New England settlers had put in place regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol it did not keep Wisconsin out of prohibition. This put a hit on many of the breweries in Wisconsin because many of them had to either stop production totally, switch to producing a beer that contained only 2.75 percent alcohol which was allowed under the prohibition law, or switch to producing soda.  This took its toll on many of the smaller breweries in the state but didn’t affect many of the larger ones.  Wisconsin’s brewing history began with small breweries, like the Hudson Road Brewery, that back in its time were known as very large breweries.  Many of these breweries have long since vanished with only a few living on through either small taverns or just strong local roots and loyalty. Some of them, however, like Miller, Pabst, and Leinenkugel’s have not only remain but have evolved into some of the largest breweries and well known breweries in the country.  Leinenkugel’s is one of the most popular breweries in the area and has brought a lot of interest and growth to the area and has been for years and it has continued to grow into one of the largest and most popular breweries in the country.

How Breweries Changed[2]

Breweries today[3]

Picture of Lucette's Brewing Company located in Menomonie, WI near the Red Cedar River.

What Happened to the Breweries around Menomonie and Breweries of today.[edit | edit source]

One of the great mysteries of the Burkhardt’s Hudson Road Brewery is the fact that even though it was known as one of the best breweries in the area and grew to be quite large, there is no trace of the building on what was known as Brewery Road. We can still find pictures of the brewery to prove that it did in fact once exist and stand on Brewery Road. The mystery of exactly how the brewery just seemed to vanish after it was closed down in the late 1890’s is unknown but many people have had theories.  There a couple of ideas that are more popular than others, the first is that there was a great fire that burned it down, so much so that it left no trace whatsoever of a building ever being there.  The other idea, and the more popular idea, is that there was a large storm or tornado that completely knocked out the brewery after it had closed down and was abandoned.  Even with these two possibilities nobody really knows what happened to the brewery which leaves a lot of mystery behind it; especially when there is photos of the brewery sitting on the very spot where it was documented to be.

As of March 31, 2021, the ruins of the once mighty Burkhardt Brewery have been located. They were never lost, just not found until now. The site rests on private property and is not easily found but after extensive research, it has been located and is on GPS. Mystery solved, there was no mystery.

There are a few popular breweries in the Menomonie area now: The Lucette Brewing Company, Das Bierhaus, Dave's BrewFarm, Lazy Monk's Brewing LLC, and Leinenkugel Brewing Company which is the most well known. Both Lucette Brewing Company and Das Bierhaus are located right in Menomonie and aren't more than 10 minutes drive from the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus. With the exception of Leinenkugel's, most of the breweries today are smaller in size but it still hasn't stopped the locals from loving the end product that comes out of these little known breweries.

Das Bierhaus Brewery is a local brewery right in Menomonie, Wi off of 6th avenue W.

External Links[edit | edit source]

First major Brewers--Picture[4]

Burkhardt's Hudson Road Brewery--Picture[5]

Jerry Apps history of breweries--Book[6]

The Lucette Brewing Company

Dave's BrewFarm

Lazy Monk's Brewing LLC

Leinenkugel Brewing Company





New England

Prohibition Laws



Temperance societies


References[edit | edit source]

  1. John Russell's Article on the first major breweries [1]
  2. Wisconsin Historical Society
  3. Bill's Distribution
  4. John Russell
  5. Dunn County Historical Society
  6. Jerry Apps