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Minhas Craft Brewery is on fire.

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Vav, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Vav

    Vav Savant (475) Illinois Jul 27, 2008

    Video: http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines...Minhas-Craft-Brewery-in-Monroe-232893081.html

    More: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/lo...cle_748d8703-8ff5-5627-9744-580fbf6358c9.html
  2. atomic

    atomic Savant (415) Illinois Sep 22, 2009

    Crazy, glad everyone is OK.
    NewGlarusFan likes this.
  3. That's shitty.
  4. 160 years...damn.
    KS1297 and jRocco2021 like this.
  5. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    Glad to learn that everyone got out okay. I really enjoyed meeting those folks on the tour!
  6. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Too bad. I practically lived off of Berghoff in college, that was when it was brewed there.
    dhannes likes this.
  7. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Gawd... I hope it didn't spread to Baumagertner's!

    Seriously -- or the rest of the town, it's pretty close to everything.
  8. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    That's not accurate, is it? Schell's is the second oldest behind Yuengling isn't it?
  9. I could live at Baumgartner's! Love that little hole in the wall.
    geneseohawk and steveh like this.
  10. celfan

    celfan Savant (465) Vermont Jul 4, 2004

    Did they used to make Augsburger Beer. Drank a lot of that in college.
    ontherocks likes this.
  11. celfan

    celfan Savant (465) Vermont Jul 4, 2004

    That place is classic Wisconsin.
  12. Yes, they brewed Augsburger for many years. It was a gold medal winner at the Great American Beer festival one year. Good stuff! They sold the label to Stroh's, then, not so good.
    russpowell likes this.
  13. mactrail

    mactrail Advocate (730) Washington Mar 24, 2009

    I remember the brewery as Huber Brewing, which was one of the few surviving old-time independent breweries in the dark days of the 70s before the craft brewing revolution.
    geneseohawk and Bitterbill like this.
  14. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    No, Minhas did not brew Augsburger, Huber still owned the brewery when Augsburger was brewed. It may be the same structure, but it's not the same brewery.
  15. You are correct, steveh. It was the Joseph Huber Brewing Co then. My dad worked for the Hubers for many years, first as a distributor and then as a state sales manager. Their flagship label was Huber Premium, along with Rhinelander, Huber Bock, Wisconsin Club, Augsburger and later on, Berghoff.
    steveh likes this.
  16. Schell's is the second oldest family-owned brewery. Minhas/Huber/Blumer has gone through a number of owners (and, as noted, names).
    steveh likes this.
  17. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    So, is the brewery in Monroe (now owned by Minhas) really the second oldest brewing facility in the country?

    I've seen the Monroe brewery and it doesn't strike me as being as old as Schell's -- it doesn't strike me that it's even as old as Anheuser Busch in St. Louis.
  18. Ri0

    Ri0 Champion (915) Wisconsin Jul 1, 2012

    The brewery was also damaged in a storm this past May. Is this a sign?
    JohnnyHopps and steveh like this.
  19. Minhas brews some of Trader Joe's beers. Grab 'em up before the shortage hits!
  20. It's a little disingenuous to say that 'Minhas Brewery has been in Monroe for more than 160 years.' Ravinder and his sister purchased the Joseph Huber Brewing Company in 2006 and renamed it. As with everything Minhas, it's all PR smoke and mirrors and their products are as cheap and awful as beer gets (in Canada, I haven't had anything they brew for US markets).

    He also abuses a tax loophole, which has garnered both hatred and worship in Alberta, depending on who you ask.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/david-menzies/alberta-small-breweries_b_1112188.html

    Sucks about the fire though, glad everyone is ok!
    sisterthelonious and emerge077 like this.
  21. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Which ones?
  22. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Must be incorporation only, I can't believe that the current site is the original from 1845.
  23. Simpler Times, Name Tag, all of the Boatswain beers and NGB (the gluten free beer).
  24. Unfortunately, I have not had a palatable beer brewed at Minhas.
    woemad, Etan, mattsander and 3 others like this.
  25. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    Totally! A tour of the brewery plus a stop at a few of the places in town (Jailhouse Tap, Brennan's) makes for a great little day trip if you're visiting the other breweries and pubs (New Glarus, Grumpy Troll) in the area.
  26. GOD NO! They are not worth the $2-3/bomber that TJ charges... You can cook with them, though. Use the chocolate stout in ice cream...
  27. shawnohall

    shawnohall Savant (330) Texas Nov 8, 2009

    I've had their Trader Joe's Simpler Times Lager and Pilsner; and honestly thought they weren't bad at all, especially at $3.49 a 6-pack. Glad everyone there is OK.
    Duff27 likes this.
  28. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Minhas, or Huber? About the only recent Minhas contract I know is 5 Rabbit -- and the house diacetyl character is all over that.
  29. atomic

    atomic Savant (415) Illinois Sep 22, 2009

    Couldnt tell ya. I know I read the name Minhas a bunch of times when reading up about new breweries. Couldnt even tell you the time frame, just know theres been several.
    First time I've heard of huber actually.
    Chaz likes this.
  30. Butcher's Brewing out of San Diego used them to contract some of their first batches- the stuff out of Minhas tasted noticeably worse than the stuff Butcher's brewed closer to home. I generally stay away from any beer that has "brewed in Monroe, WI" on the label.

    Contract brewing works when done at a gypsy level. A brewer rents the space, supplies his own ingredients, and oversees the process along with a brewer who has experience on the equipment. Pretty Little Things and Stillwater do this incredibly well.

    Minhas is so far removed from that process. A brewery can do as little as send a recipe and some cash to Minhas and pay for them to brew, bottle, and ship their beer for them. They can do it without even setting foot in the place. Many of the generic brands you see labeled as craft beer at incredibly low prices at stores like Trader Joe's are brewed in Monroe, at Minhas. But don't be fooled- a company like Trader Joe's can simply say, "hey, we'd like a craft brewed Lager that doesn't cost more than $.25 a can to make" and Minhas will find the suitable ingredients and process to make it happen.

    They serve a purpose in the craft beer industry- small breweries can actually go brew there for a decent price. As long as they oversee the process themselves, it can help them get their beer to distribution. What they need to watch out for is using Minhas to brew their beer without their oversight. Butcher's, a brewery from Southern California, used Minhas to brew at least one batch of their IIPA, and it tasted markedly different from their locally brewed batch of the same beer. I'm sure that ingredients and transportation played a huge role in this difference, but it was a tough obstacle for Butcher's to overcome.

    Their off-brand beers also serve a purpose- they bridge the gap between macro-and-micro-flavor and price in beer. They don't intend to brew gold-medal winning craft beer. They just want to make a buck on a growing industry.
  31. It's a bit of an oversimplification. Those are two different models of contract brewing. Pretty Things (no "little") contracts space and equipment from Buzzards Bay, they come in before any regulars get there, brew their stuff, store it on the premises and leave. Then they come in and bottle it themselves when ready. But very few breweries in MA follow that model. There are far more that contract Mercury Brewing or FXMatt to make everything for them (except the recipe). Some insist on their own supplies, others let the contract brewer take care of it. But they do show up at the brewery to "supervise" and to test the product. Some brands that have their own breweries contract them for the canning lines, which they don't have (e.g., Cisco). I don't think there are a lot of people who think there's anything wrong with that. Most of Mercury's business is done this way, not off their own Ipswich label. FX Matt also makes "generics" (actually, store brand--Kirkland Signature--not quite the same thing) for Costco and a few other retailers. They have several house brands, including Saranac.

    From your description, it seems Minhas follows the same model. It's what's usually referred to as "contract brewery" AFAIK, not the Pretty Things model. It has no reflection on the quality of the beer. Some are bad, some are not, but it depends more on the people doing the contracting, not necessarily the contractor. It may depend, of course, on the quality of supplies, but also on the size of the batch and storage/transportation conditions. Either side of the contract may be responsible for the failures.
    cavedave likes this.
  32. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I'll do some digging, but I really can't think of any Chicago establishments that "got their starts" contracting through Minhas proper.

    At 26 I can understand why you've probably never heard of Huber, but they were brewing a lot of labels around the time you were born -- lot of popular Chicago beer too.
  33. Fred Huber even bought the former Meister Brau brewery (after Miller bought most of the labels), reverted it to its previous name, Peter Hand, and brewed a number of Huber and PH beers in Chicago during the 1970s - including Old Chicago, Van Merritt and Braumeister. The last Chicago brewery before the craft-era, I guess?
    Chaz likes this.
  34. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I believe this is true. I seem to remember Van Merritt being brewed by Heileman at some point -- at a time when Heileman seemed to be spending more on label printing than recipe formulation… or is my memory foggy?
  35. Yeah, don't remember if Heileman did or not. They spent the 60s and 70s collecting labels and breweries, and then the 80s and 90s selling them off. Plus there were a few other "Van ____" labels, many obviously hoping to be accidentally confused with a discount Heineken knock-off.
  36. pitweasel

    pitweasel Advocate (540) New York Jun 11, 2007

    So...the bad ones. Gotcha.

    Still hurts to see such an old brewery go up. Glad to hear that it sounds like no one was injured, but now you've got a lot of people without jobs. Oof.
  37. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    Interesting arrangement! I would've assumed that Miller would've wanted the Peter Hand portfolio lock, stock, and barrel, but I guess not. Strange. How long did Huber run this brewery* at what I'm assuming was less than full capacity before it was shut down? It couldn't have been a very profitable enterprise by that time, and there were really not so many up-marketed, contract brands the way that there are today.

    (* And did they package "Billy Beer" or other novelty brands there?)
  38. Checking the chronology of the demise of Meister Brau, what was odd is that even after Miller bought the flagship Meister Brau brands (including, of course, Meister Brau Lite) in June 1972, the company continued to try to come out of bankruptcy for nearly a year, even after selling off it flagship brand. Huber and a group of investors would not buy the brewery and re-open it until April, '73. (Supposedly there were rumors about "old beer" being packaged when the reborn Peter Hand opened).

    Huber made the "Old Chicago" brand the brewery's flagship - a name apparently owned by Meister Brau, but never much used. When it happened, I thought it was real clever that they also brewed a beer their called "Braumeister" (take that, Miller!) - not well versed on local Great Lakes brands, I didn't realize that was an old Wisconsin brand that Huber previous acquired.

    Besides the ones discussed above, the other notably Peter Hand brands included Zodiac Malt Liquor (you gotta remember that one;) - I'm sure it can still be found in those "50¢/3 for a buck" breweriana show tables) and, according to some sources, brands from Old Crown (IN) and Oertel's (KY) and also one of the many US "Burgemeister" brands.

    The Peter Hand closure caused a lot of financial woes for Huber, since they were separate corporations and somehow the PH stockholders tried to gain control of of Huber.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    Chaz and steveh like this.
  39. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Of course -- I mean, why not package the old beer sitting in tanks for months -- pretty economical, no? :rolleyes:

    I'm guessing it was the best Bock ever packaged by the Peter Hand Brewery. :p
    woemad, VictorWisc and Chaz like this.

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