Brewery and preservationists working together to gain historic designation for the landmark
NEW ULM, MN, (Feb. 1, 2016) — August Schell Brewing Company, Minnesota-based brewers of Grain Belt beer, has finalized its purchase of an iconic Minneapolis landmark — the Grain Belt Beer sign on Nicollet Island.
The sale marks the culmination of longtime efforts on the part of the brewery to acquire the sign and the land on which it stands. Since purchasing the Grain Belt brand in 2002, August Schell had been in ongoing discussions with the property owners, the Eastman Family Trust, about the sign’s stewardship and restoration.
To help preserve and protect the sign in perpetuity, August Schell has partnered with local historical consultants Hess, Roise and Company to have the sign named to the National Register of Historic Places. Hess Roise worked previously on the rehabilitation of the old Grain Belt brewery in Northeast Minneapolis and was involved with the renovation of the North Star Blankets sign in downtown Minneapolis.
“Everyone at Hess Roise is delighted to be involved,” said Charlene Roise, president of Hess, Roise and Company. “It’s a gem, a bodacious Minneapolis landmark — and a rare survivor among the once common supersized signs that advertised products and attractions across the United States. It deserves to join the iconic Las Vegas sign in Nevada on the National Register of Historic Places.”
The sign was last lit in 1975, and plans are already underway to restore and relight it. The brewery is working with local architects, engineers and preservationists and hopes to have the sign relit by the summer of 2017.
“The Grain Belt Beer sign both reflects and contributes to the downtown Minneapolis character as a historic industrial and commercial city,” said Ted Marti, president and fifth-generation descendant of brewery founder, August Schell. “As a historic Minnesota brewery, we’re committed to preserving our history and the history of our state.”
In celebration of the purchase, Grain Belt is releasing a new brew — Lock & Dam, named for another nearby landmark on the Mississippi River — in April.
About August Schell Brewing Company
August Schell Brewing Company specializes in brewing quality craft beer and boasts a proud heritage of 156 years of continuous family ownership. Founded in 1860 in New Ulm, MN, Schell’s is the oldest brewery in Minnesota and second oldest family-owned brewery in the United States. It became the largest brewery in Minnesota when the company acquired Grain Belt Beer in 2002. From innovative German brews to award-winning American lagers, the Schell’s brewing process begins and ends with quality-crafted beer.