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Yoerg Brewing Company
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YOERG BREWING COMPANY
Saint Paul Minnesota - Born in 1848

Saint Paul has a rich and storied brewing history, and it all started with the opening of Minnesota's first brewery in 1848; The Anthony Yoerg Brewing Company.  Minnesota, and in particular Saint Paul, had one of the largest German populations in the country back then, and these immigrants brought with them the great art of brewing.  The German technology was much more advanced than the British influences that were prevalent at the time, and Minnesota had all the required ingredients to brew great beer; terrific water sources and lots of farmland to grow barley and hops.  

Anthony Yoerg was born into a brewing family on October 5th, 1816 in the Bavarian village of Gundelfingen.  At 19 years of age, he immigrated to the United States and first settled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Soon after he relocated to Galena Illinois and finally moved to a new Minnesota settlement on the Mississippi River called Saint Paul.  For a very short time Anthony ran a butcher shop in a German neighborhood on the West Side but he quickly decided to change careers and opened a small brewery in the German 'Uppertown' neighborhood not far from today's seven corners.

For 21 years Yoerg ran this little brewery with great success and Saint Paul was a becoming quite popular in the Midwest with up to 12 breweries operation at one time.  But the Yoerg Brewery was the most revered of them all, and produced hearty, Bavarian styled beers that were the standard bearers of the state and the benchmark that every new Minnesota brewery would try to recreate.  In 1871, Anthony built a great stone brewery across the river on Ohio Street on the West Side, just two blocks from Water Street.  A mile of underground cooling caves were created and this new operation was a true, fully automated brewery that was the envy of breweries nationwide.  Production was now up to 50 barrels of beer a day, and by 1881, they were producing over 20,000 barrels of beer a year.   Ten years later and production has almost doubled with the brewery now producing over 35,000 barrels a year and they were one of the biggest breweries in the state (With Theodore Hamms and Jacob Schmidt far behind him).


Yoerg's 'Cave Aged' beers were produced exclusively from Minnesota grown Barley and 100% Washington State Hops.  The water source was a deep well dug on the Brewery property and the Yoerg's had their own Bavarian cooper on staff that made and designed all their own oak cooperage.  The bottling line was the finest available and the family was constantly upgrading their equipment.  The Yoerg Lagers were produced utilizing the steam process, this meant that the beers were brewed at warm temperatures using lager yeasts, and the finished products were the richest and most lavish beers on the market.  The family was also famous for hiring other German immigrants back then to work at the brewery (the entire staff were almost all Bavarian born).

This was a true family operation all the way.   Anthony Yoerg married Governor Alexander Ramsey's nanny (Elovina Seitzsinger), and the ran the brewery by themselves in the early years but eventually had seven children.   Anthony Jr. was born in 1854 in Saint Paul and attended the University of Minnesota.  In 1874 he became the Brewery's first 'General Manager' and also became quite successful in the real estate business, in fact he left the brewery to specialize in banking and real estate before coming back to run the brewery again after his father died in 1896.  Anthony Jr. was also heavily involved with Democratic Politics, being elected to the Saint Paul City Council in 1890, the School Board in 1896 and elected to the Minnesota State Legislature in 1903. 

The Yoerg's second oldest was William, who was head bookkeeper at the Brewery from 1880-1887, bottling plant manager from 1887-1892 and General Manager after Anthony Jr, resigned to concentrate on real estate from 1892-1896.   William left the brewery in 1896 to run Anthony Jr.'s real estate business and in 1899, moved to Winthrop Minnesota.

The third oldest is Frank, who was born in Saint Paul in 1867 and attended MIT (Massachusetts School of Technology) in Boston and worked as an architect for four years before he joined the family trade where he was a 'collector' from 1893-1896, the bookkeeper from 1899-1904, Vice President from 1904-1905, President from 1905-1934 and secretary from 1934 until his death in 1941.

Henry was the fourth son, and he also attended MIT in Boston to study mechanical engineering became Vice President of the Brewery in 1896 when his father died. In 1897 he left the brewery to take a mechanical engineering job and later became superintendent at the Great Northern Railroad before returning to the brewery as Vice President again from 1934-1939.

Louis E. Yoerg was the youngest boy, born in 1874 and decided to not attend college.  He worked as a clerk at Saint Paul's Bohn Manufacturing Company and then later worked for the Gotzian Shoe Company in Saint Paul.  His father's death also brought him back to the brewery, where he served as the brewery's secretary-treasurer from 1896 to 1935.  Louis eventually became President and ran the brewery from 1935 until his death in 1950.

Anthony and Elovina Yoerg had two daughters, Alvonia and Annie, and neither of them ever worked at the brewery, but both of their marriages played very important roles in the Brewery's future.  Alvonia married John Seeger who at the time was President of the Bohn Manufacturing Company and he later became President of the Yoerg Brewing Company from 1897-1905.  Annie married another Bavarian immigrant; Gustave Heinemann, who worked at the Brewery for many years, eventually becoming the General Manager in 1896. 

The Yoerg family survived Prohibition by successfully producing soft drinks and milk and when repeal came about in 1933, they were back in full beer production. Unfortunately, times changed in the brewing industry across the nation after prohibition, and the new, modern way of brewing utilized corn syrups instead of barley and is was this streamlining that was the start of the downfall for the Yoerg family.  The brewery was happy producing their all malt lagers into the 1950s, but these new cost cutting measures made their beers decidedly more expensive then their rivals, and they finally had to close their doors for good in 1952.  At the time,  Anthony Jr’s son Alfred was the third generation Yoerg to run the brewery. Today, 60 years after their demise,  Yoerg Brewing paraphenalia is still some of the most treasured collectables in the country, and the name is as revered today as it was 150 years ago.

This was a family who helped shape the City of Saint Paul in it's infancy and those who remember, the Yoerg beers were always considered the first great beers produced in the State of Minnesota.

Yoerg Delivery Truck - 1940s

Yoerg Bottling Line - 1937

Yoerg Brewery - 1916

The Yoerg Family and Staff - 1873
 

Yoerg Aging Caves - 1937

Fermenting Cave #2 - 1937

Fermenting Cave #3 - 1937

Yoerg Bottling line - 1937

Yoerg Mash Tub and Kettle - 1937

Yoerg's 'Tied House' Saloon on the West Side before Prohibition

Behind the Brewery - 1937

The Large Fermenters in the main cave - 1937

Yoerg Delivery Wagon - 1890

The Yoerg Family and Staff - 1896

Yoerg Storage Area - 1937

Minnesota Grown Barley & Washington Hops - 1937

Yoerg Brewery - 1937

Fermenting Cave #1 - 1937

Sterilized Pressure Vats - 1937

Artesian Water Filter - 1937

Yoerg Brewery - 1886

Yoerg Delivery Trucks - 1948

Yoerg Storage Cave - 1937

Yoerg Bottling Line - 1937

Frank Yoerg1867 -  1947

Henry Yoerg1872 -  1947

Louis Yoerg - 1874 -  1950

Louis & Pauline Yoerg's Wedding Picture
November 1900

Louis & Pauline Yoerg's Gravestone

William Yoerg - 1863 -  1921

 Yoerg's family Gravestone
Calvary Cemetary - Saint Paul, MN

 

Anthony Yoerg 1818 -  1896

Anthony Yoerg - 1818 -  1896

Anthony Yoerg - 1818 - 1896

Anthony Yoerg Jr. - 1856 -  1930

Anthony Yoerg Jr. - 1856 -  1930

William Yoerg - 1863 -  1921
Anita Yoerg - 1897 -  1973

John Seeger - 1855 -  1930

Pauline (Hammerbacher) Yoerg - 1881 -  1959

Florence Yoerg  -  1889 -  ??

Elovena Yoerg  -  1828 -  1900

Anita Yoerg - 1897-1973

Anthony Yoerg Jr. introduces a bill to allow street cars from outside the district to use St. Paul's tracks.
THE MINNEAPOLIS JOURNAL
February 27th, 1903

Paid newspaper ad for
Anthony Yoerg Jr. who was running
for Councilman re-election.

THE APPEAL NEWSPAPER
March 16th, 1918

 

"Thanks for Mr. Yoerg."
A St. Paul School District pays homage to Anthony Yoerg Jr. after he helped redesign their curriculum and raised considerable funds for them.
THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
April 19th, 1898

Anthony Yoerg Jr. lost this election by 7 votes and later contested the election.  This article shows his total election finances were $41.50.
THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
September 30th, 1904

Newspaper endorsement for
Anthony Yoerg Jr. who was running
for county commissioner.

THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
September 16th, 1902

 

Newspaper endorsement for
Frank Yoerg who was running
for City Council.

THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
July 3rd, 1904

The Yoerg family also had a very successful Real Estate business throughout the entire State.
THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
August 31st, 1902

Henry, William, Augustin and Anthony Yoerg Jr filed a lawsuit against the family brewery (Louis Yoerg, Elvina Yoerg Seeger and John Seeger who was the president of the Brewery at that time) to protect the Yoerg Realty Company.
THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
April 4th, 1899

"Gentlemen, you will
please come to order!"

Acting St. Paul Mayor Anthony Yoerg Jr.
overseeing a St. Paul Council meeting.

THE ST. PAUL GLOBE
July 7th, 1889