Cold Spring Brewing in Minnesota announced yesterday that they will no longer brew the historic Gluek brand. Gluek began brewing in 1857, before Minnesota was even a state.
In 1857 on the bank of the Mississippi River in an area which would someday be known as Minneapolis, German immigrant Gottlieb Gluek started the Mississippi Brewing Company. Soon the name was changed to the Gluek Brewing Company, and by 1964 Gluek became Minneapolis’s oldest continuously-operated business.
In 1858 the company brewed 3,996 barrels of beer, and by 1901 the annual capacity was second only to the two “giants” the Minneapolis Brewing Company (later renamed as the Grain Belt) and the Theo. Hamm Brewery of St. Paul.
But after 1964 it fell on hard times and, like many regional breweries, was bought by G. Heileman. The original brewery was torn down but a new one was later built back in Cold Spring, Minnesota in 1997. A couple of years ago, however, they renamed Gluek Brewing to Cold Spring Brewing as fewer and fewer consumers knew or cared about Gluek’s history in the region.
As an AP story reports:
By September, Gluek will be phased out. But vice president and general manager Doug DeGeest says Cold Spring Brewing is keeping the Gluek trademark, and it’s possible the beer could come back.
DeGeest says it was a business decision to discontinue the Gluek brand. He says the Cold Spring-based company cannot keep up with production and needed to decide which product in its portfolio of beers to discontinue.
When I was the beer buyer at BevMo, we brought in some of the Gluek beer in cans and they also sold us a beer exclusively (for California, at least) which we sold as a private label beer. That was Fat Cat Lager, which was a decent enough all-malt generic lager. I believe Randy Mosher did the label design.
Regardless of Gluek’s ultimate place in American brewing history, it’s always sad to see another old brand consigned to the scrap heap of discontinued brands, but then I’m sentimental that way.