Last week, the second oldest craft brewery in the United States was inflicted with considerable damage from a fire. According to an article on the Wisconsin State Journal, the fire was contained primarily to a stairwell in Monroe, Wis.’s legendary Minhas Craft Brewery and is believed to have started from a malfunctioning machine that was being used to spray foam coating on the walls, which is adjacent to the rooms that hold the brewery’s fermentation tanks. Damage is estimated at $500,000. From the Journal:
“It could have been a lot worse,” [President Gary] Olson said Friday as investigators from the Monroe police and fire departments inspected the damage. “We have a lot of smoky-looking tanks.”
Minhas is located in the beautiful little town of Monroe in southwestern Wisconsin. The “Brewery in Monroe” has been owned (in various forms and names) over the last 160 years by some of the most prominent citizens of the area — first and second generation immigrants, tracing their origins from Switzerland, France, Britain, Germany and Denmark. It was founded way back in 1845, but today the brewery is a behemoth. In 2012, Minhas Craft Brewery was the 11th largest in the United States overall, according to the Brewers Association (but is not considered a craft brewery by the association’s definition), brewing brands like Boxer Lager, Mountain Crest and Lazy Mutt (along with lots of contract brewing).
How will this fire affect the brewery’s production schedule? Well, the fire also knocked out the recently upgraded electrical service to a portion of the brewery, but it doesn’t appear production will be set back too much. From that same Journal article:
“We didn’t have a lot of activity scheduled for next week so [the fire] isn’t going to be as big of an issue had it happened in the middle of last summer,” Olson said.