History of Brewing in Minnesota

Join us at the Milaca Community Library on Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm as Minnesota author Doug Hoverson stops by to talk about his book, The Land of Amber Waters that chronicles Minnesota’s rich brewing history.
The ECRL Reads program taking place in East Central Regional Library’s six counties through November 16 includes programming based on the book, Ice-Out by Minnesota author Mary Casanova. Ice-Out takes place in 1920s Minnesota during the “great experiment” known as Prohibition and the banning of alcohol. Mr. Hoverson’s visit is part of the ECRL Reads series of programs about the 1920s era.
Learn about the early days from the first illegal brewer at Fort Snelling to the nearly 300 breweries in existence today. The history of brewing in Minnesota is as much a colorful and interesting part of the Prohibition era as today’s brewery scene. The search for the perfect combination of barley, yeast, water and hops made Minnesota one of the few states known for a rich history of brewing beer.  Perhaps one of the most famous incidents related to brewing in Minnesota and the Prohibition was the kidnapping in St. Paul of William Hamm Jr., the president of Hamm’s Brewing Co.  He was grabbed by the Barker-Karpis gang while walking home on his lunch break.  The ransom of $100,000 was dropped on the side of the road outside Pine City.
The first brewery began in 1849 in Minnesota and the state’s beer industry grew from small-town breweries to the larger companies of days gone by including Hamms, Grain Belt and Surly to a new wave of breweries such as Summit, Surly and Lake Superior Brewing Co. Today brewpubs have popped up and are supplied by microbreweries and home brewers from your local neighborhoods.
The program is sponsored by East Central Regional Library and the Milaca Community Library and is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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