Historic Beer Birthday: Armin Louis Neubert

minneapolis black-hills salinas
Today is the birthday of Armin Louis Neubert (August 2, 1864-July 3, 1946). He was born in Wolkenstein, Saxony, Germany. His father died when he was five, and he grew up with an uncle, who allowed him to train as a brewer while attending school. After a stint in the German-Saxon Army, he moved with his uncle to the United States. After helping his uncle set up his American business, he moved from city to city working for prominent breweries for several years before finally settling in Minnesota, spending twenty years as the head brewer of the Minneapolis Brewing Co., though his official title was “Production Superintendent.” The year after he took the job, he introduced the popular “Grain Belt Beer.”


In 1900, the Minneapolis Brewing Co. bought the Black Hills Brewing Co. in Central City, South Dakota. A new brewery was built, designed by Armin Neubert and he was also named vice-president when the business was reorganized.


When Neubert retired from the Minneapolis Brewing Co. in 1914, he moved his family to Central City, which he’d become fond of during his numerous visits there over the years, and continued to work at Black Hills. Unfortunately, the brewery closed at the beginning of 1917 when the state voted to start prohibition two years before the national prohibition, though it stayed in business by switching to soft drinks and near-beer. But it was a pain in the ass, and Armin apparently was disheartened by what had happened to the industry he loved and the brewery was closed in 1927, and sold the next year. “After that, he moved to a ranch he’d bought near Great Falls, Montana and became a wheat farmer. But aAfter a few years he turned the ranch over to his son and retired to Santa Cruz,” California.

Apparently, a new Black Hills Brewing Co. is in the works, though it gives the original founding date as 1878.


But after prohibition ended in 1933, Neubert was lured back into the brewery industry and was asked to get involved in reopening the old Salinas Brewery, in California.

Armin was to receive equity in the new company as payment for his engineering work, and his son, Armin K., who had an engineering degree, was included in the deal. The Salinas Brewing & Ice Company was opened and soon gaining recognition for its excellent “Monterey Beer.” Armin, Sr. was brewmaster, and Armin, Jr. was the treasurer of the firm.


Eventually, Neubert ended up owning the Salinas Brewery outright, with his son, who’d been involved since the beginning, as president.

Then in February of 1937, Rettenmayer met with an untimely death, followed in November by the death of a prime stockholder and director of the company, Dr. Wm. Fehliman. This resulted in the restructuring of the company in 1938, and the Neubert family gaining sole control. The company’s name was changed to the Monterey Brewing Co., with Armin, Jr., president.

There’s surprisingly very little information about Neubert, and no pictures I could find, and almost everything here is from the website Brewery Gems. They also have a much fuller biography of Armin Neubert.


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