August Schell Brewing Company

The founder of one of the oldest operating breweries in the nation, August Schell, was born in Germany in 1828. He made his way to America in 1858, settling in New Ulm. Four years later, after operating a flour and sawmill, he built a brewery overlooking the Minnesota and Cottonwood Rivers. His partner in this enterprise was Jacob Bernhard, who had studied the art of brewing in Germany and had served as brewmaster at the North Mississippi Brewery in St. Paul.

That original brewery was housed in what is now the company's office, and stood above the brick aging tunnels (which are still used today to hold steam and water lines). A horse-drawn mill was used to grind the malted barley, and a horse and wagon barn housed the means to bring the beer to the community.

Improvements were made over the ensuing year, adding, among other things, a three story malt house, an ammonia refrigeration compression apparatus, and a larger fermenting and storage cellar which is still used today.

August died in 1891, leaving his wife and other family members to continue operation of the brewery until 1902, at which time it was incorporated into the August Schell Brewing Company.

Prohibition found Schell's producing soft drinks, near-beer and candy, but went back to selling beer the minute the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed.

The brewery flourished following Prohibition, withstanding even the harsh competition of the 1970s. Today they remain a major player in the regional brewing scene, producing many fine beers under their own label, as well as several contract-brews.

See the Beer Hunter's Guide to Minnesota for more information on today's Schell's.