In late November, we reported that the second oldest craft brewery in the United States was inflicted with considerable damage from a fire. 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 was initially estimated at $500,000, but according to this article on the Wisconsin State Journal, that number has sky rocketed to $2 million.
“We have taken all measures to ensure that our brewery comes back from the fire better than ever,” [Brewery President Gary] Olson said, noting that about 100 tradespeople and other workers have been laboring around the clock to clean, repair, replace and inspect damaged areas.
The article notes that Minhas plans to start making new batches of beer this very week. 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). What’s the plan now?
Olson said he expected the brewery to be back to normal supply levels a few weeks after brewing resumes the week of Jan. 20, with shipping to start immediately after that beer is bottled and packaged. Olson said the shipping schedule will be about five weeks sooner than a previously announced shipping-resumption date during the week of March 2.