Minnesota's first commercial brewery, the Yoerg Brewing Company was founded ten years before Minnesota became a state in 1848. It was one of the cornerstone businesses that helped build the city of Saint Paul. Anthony Yoerg was the first in the Midwest to ferment his beers Bavarian style (in caves along the Mississippi River downtown Saint Paul) and they were the main reason Saint Paul breweries were as revered as those from Milwaukee and St. Louis before Prohibition. The brewery closed in 1952 because they refused to compromise their standards when the competition started cutting corners. Well, 64 years later, the legendary Yoerg Beers are back.
MINNESOTA'S BREWING PIONEERS
We have put together one of the most comprehensive lists of every single brewery that commercially operated in Minnesota before prohibition available anywhere. Today Minnesota has 48 working breweries, with another 20-30+ opening (or have already opened) in 2015. That may seem like a lot, but before Prohibition, Minnesota had over 300 breweries. Here is a list of every brewery that operated in the state before prohibition, when they started, when they closed, and when we could find the information, how much beer they produced.
Aside from the fact that the Yoerg Brewery produced the finest beers in the Midwest, they also had the most beautiful packaging. Which is one of the main reasons Yoerg's 'beeraphenalia' has become some of the most collectable 'New World' artifacts in the entire world. And over the years since the brewery closed, these items have become priceless. A rare beer tray from one of Minnesota's pre-prohibition breweries will set you back $75.00 - $125.00 each. A Yoerg Beer Tray will cost you in upwards of $5,000.00. One beer glass sells for $700.00. Here's a fun look at the past.
SAINT PAUL'S SALOONS OF YESTERDAY
We have assembled an extensive portfolio of the bars, restaurants and saloons that carried the original Yoerg beers back in the day. Saint Paul's neighborhool bars were legendary, as were a thriving Downtown that was full of classic, European-styled restaurants and pubs. Since Saint Paul was at first a riverboat town, the large beer halls along the river were packed with sailors and merchants moving from town to town. Saint Paul was always a favorite stop because they could get the fabled Yoerg's Beer at the local beer halls.
THE YOERG FAMILY
The Yoerg family history reads like the history of Saint Paul, with the brewery being founded 10 years before Minnesota became a state. Anthony Yoerg's sons Frank and Louis served on St. Paul's early City Councils, education boards, and both had huge influence on the mechanics, finances and the building of schools in the city. Not only was Yoerg Brewery the first in Minnesota's history, it was the the best and most revered for over 100 years with a reputation that has still, never been equaled in the state.
From a 1906 Postcard of the baths along the Mississippi River showing the
Yoerg Brewery in it's prime on Ohio and Ethel streets.
The staff sits down for a picture showing off all their blue ribbons in 1895.
"Just a reminder of the "good old days" - the Yoerg Brewing Co. force (and most of the brewery's equipment) in 1873. The master brewer, Joe Slaby, is next to Mr.Yoerg, third from the left. The two boys seated in front are Henry and Frank Yoerg. Frank, the one with white buttons on his breeches, now is president of the company. the boy at the extreme right is another son, Will Yoerg. The building in front of which they are seated still is in use as part of the present Yoerg plant at Ohio and Ethel streets."
THE SAINT PAUL DISPATCH (1934)