The Minneapolis Brewing Company began as a merger of four of the largest breweries in Minneapolis under the name of the Minneapolis Brewing and Malting Company. The John Orth Brewing Company, the Heinrich Brewing Association, the Frederick D. Norenberg Brewery, and the Germania Brewing Association, came together in 1890, operating chiefly out of John Orth's facility as it was the largest of the four.
In 1892, a large new brewery was constructed on the site of the Orth Brewery, incorporating four different architectural styles--representing the four original breweries. Additions made over the next ten years would make it one of the largest breweries in the country.
The business was reorganized and incorporated under the name of the Minneapolis Brewing Company in 1893, at which time a new line of beers were introduced under the Golden Grain Belt Beer trademark. By 1905, the organization had become nearly self-sufficient, containing a cooperage, a carpentry shop, a machine shop, a wagon shop, a paint shop, and a livery.
The company prospered up to Prohibition, during which time operations shifted to producing near-beer, malt syrup and soft drinks. After this dismal period Grain Belt, "the Friendly Beer," was again brewed, much to the delight of the Twin Cities populace.
The organization flourished in the era following Prohibition, becoming one of the top 20 breweries by 1970. Unfortunately, despite national distribution, increasing competition forced the brewery to close in 1976, with most of its labels being sold to the G. Heilemann Brewing Company.
The structure itself was purchased in 1987 by the city of Minneapolis to prevent demolition, and so it still stands, remaining a very impressive monument to Minnesota's brewing industry.