Kiewel Brewery, Little Falls Minnesota
Located on a quiet residential street in Little Falls, Minnesota, the Kiewel Brewery now stands a reminder of a once prosperous industry.
With the purchase in 1893 of a small brewery located in northeast Little Falls, Jacob Kiewel began an industry which brought prosperity to many over the next 65 years.
Although there was a steam brewery plant already operated in the building owned by Rudolph Koch, it wasn't until Jacob Kiewel purchased and took over the operation of the brewery that the brewing of beer began to have any significant effect on the economy of Little Falls and the surrounding area. By 1913, the Kiewel Brewery Company was the fifth largest manufacturing firm in the Little Falls area.
The beer produced by the Kiewel Brewery was at first distributed locally with shipments being made in horse drawn carts going no farther than a team could travel and return in one day. Later the territory was expanded to encompass an area covering central and northwestern Minnesota as well as the northeastern part of North Dakota.
Kiewel Brewery beer, described as "A Mild Tonic, A Liquid Food," was originally marketed primarily in kegs and was called "Kiewel's Standard". Later, the name was changed to "White Rose" and more emphasis was placed on bottled beer. Later still, the name was changed to "White Seal" and canned beer was added to the packaging line. In 1943 the brewery introduced its last brand of beer, "Super White Seal", which was well accepted throughout the entire area served.
Coal was used to heat the malt in a large kiln. From the kiln the beer went to the coolers and then on to vats where it was aged. Once the beer was fully aged, it was piped to the bottling house where it was bottled, capped and labeled by machines.
The bottles used at the Kiewel Brewery were shipped by train. Bottles were not crated but simply stacked in the freight cars. Local children often helped restack the bottle once they reached the brewery.
Beer could also be purchased in kegs from the Kiewel Brewery. Although aluminum kegs were used in later years, originally the beer was stored in oak kegs which were made at the brewery. An empty oak keg weighed 75 pounds.
During the Prohibition Era, the Kiewel Brewery was used as an ice cream plant and creamery with products marketed under the Kiewel brand name. The brewery also housed a candy-jobbing business. The company name was changed during this time to Kiewel Associated Products.
With the end of Prohibition, the business of making beer once again got underway. During these depression years the Kiewel Brewery started producing a small four gallon barrel of beer. These small barrels became very popular for parties and sold for $2.00.
World War II forced the brewmasters at Kiewel Brewery to try substitute ingredients in their beer. During this time Kiewel beer was made with white corn and molasses. Despite the trying times, Kiewel Brewery continued to prosper employing 36 men in 1948.
The Brewery continued to produce beer under the Kiewel family management until 1959 when the building was leased to the Grain Belt Brewery Company. Grain Belt leased the brewery until 1961 after which the building was vacant until James Snow's purchase of it in 1970. Until December 1982 he had operated a small manufacturing business in the northwest corner of the building. The City of Little Falls purchased the building in December 1982 with the intentions to remove the structure and build a senior community center.
The Kiewel Brewery building which once housed a thriving business vital to the community, now stands in a state of total disrepair.
The building has since been demolished.