August Schell Brewing Co., one of Minnesota’s oldest breweries, announced that it has finalized the purchase of 11 acres of land near its historic main campus in New Ulm. The craft brewer has immediate plans to develop a 12,000-square foot facility on the site in order to expand production of its Noble Star series of specialty Berliner Weisse sour beers. Construction is expected to commence in mid-October.
Now in its second year of production, the Noble Star series is brewed in rare cypress lagering tanks originally constructed at Schell’s in the mid-1930’s to accommodate post-Prohibition demand. Decommissioned in the 1990’s, the tanks have now been painstakingly reconditioned and repurposed for the series by Schell’s sixth generation brewmaster, Jace Marti. The new expansion will allow room for the restoration of eight additional historic tanks, as well as a taproom and hospitality areas for the general public.
“In order to meet the growing demand for the Noble Star Collection, we need additional space to house these unique lagering tanks,” Marti said. “This project takes a part of brewing history completely unique to Schell’s and reuses it to produce something completely new and different — way beyond its original intention. These are beautiful tanks and, as far as I know, are among the last remaining cypress beer tanks left in the world.
Their size and shape are perfect for producing sour beers. The expansion gives us a chance to clean them up, put them back into production, and give them a home of their own where people can come see, touch and experience the beer they produce first hand.”
Schell’s decision to locate the facility near its original southern Minnesota site is part of a conscious effort by the 154-year-old, family-owned company to remain true to its heritage. The brewery intends to reclaim building materials from an old barn and farmhouse located on the property as part of the new construction.