Historic Schmidt Brewery
Yoerg Brewing artwork
Saint Paul’s Beer History
Our first brewery opened in 1848 and we haven't stopped brewing since.
Yoerg's Washington Street Brewery
Yoerg's Washington Street Brewery, founded in 1848, holds the title of the first brewery in Saint Paul—and it was the only brewery in town until 1853. This "modern, steam-powered, assembly line beer factory" was family-owned and operated until its closure in 1952. Three generations of Yoergs ran the brewery, which left its legacy as a 103-year-old business when it stopped brewing.
In 2016, Yoerg's Lager made a return, now distributed by the Artisan Beer Company.
Founded in 1855, the Schmidt Brewery went through numerous names, owners and head brewers before it claimed the success we know it for today. The story began in 1855 with the Stalhmann family, a proud family of German heritage who named their business "The Cave Brewery" for its unique location in a natural cave (which provided a cool and dry place to lager beer). Due to the ease of transportation down the Mississippi River via riverboat, business boomed from the beginning of its run. Soon Jacob Schmidt, a brewer from rival Hamm's Brewing, took over as the company’s master brewer. The brewery became popular almost immediately and began competing directly with Hamm’s, making Schmidt a well-known icon on the city's west side.
Theodore Hamm came to Saint Paul via Chicago in 1865 and, due to incredibly pure water and other geographical benefits, saw almost immediate success with his business. The company's initial master brewer, Jacob Schmidt, brought the company attention in its first few years, but he left early on to transform the Stalhmann's family's operation into the aforementioned Schmidt Brewing. Regardless of Jacob's departure, the brewery went on to earn a fortune for the Hamm family a fortune—so much so that the Hamm family's wealth attracted the attention of Saint Paul's infamous gangsters, leading to the Ma Barker gang's 1933 kidnapping of company president, William Hamm. One of the better-known brands of beer across the United States, Hamm’s was known as one of the “last of Saint Paul’s local breweries.” Hamm’s closed its Saint Paul doors in 1997 and the company is now owned by MillerCoors. The old brewery building is currently active in the Saint Paul beer scene after years of abandonment, now housing Flat Earth Brewing Company. You can find statues of the famous Hamm's Bear across Saint Paul, including memorials at the Hamm's family home in the Swede Hollow neighborhood and at the 7th Place Plaza in front of the historic Hamm's office building downtown.
In 1986, Mark Stutrud stopped pursuing his Masters in social work to pursue his dream of opening a brewery. He named it after the historic Summit Avenue and took over an abandoned auto shop to begin his work. The Great Northern Porter and the Extra Pale Ale, still served today, were the two beers that launched the Summit Brewing Company's business—the EPA is now one of the top 50 distributed beers in the United States (you'll find it at nearly every restaurant and bar in the area). Pop in for a $5 brewery tour to get a glimpse inside the operation and the opportunity to sample a few brews.
Saint Paul's robust beer history is all the more surprising when you consider the enforcement of Prohibition was penned here. In 1919, Senator Andrew Volstead wrote the Eighteenth Amendment in his offices located in what is now the Landmark Center. The United States Congress passed the amendment after Woodrow Wilson vetoed it. Learn more about prohibition's roots in Saint Paul on a tour of the Landmark Center.