"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
DUBUQUE BREWING AND MALTING COMPANY
DUBUQUE BREWING AND MALTING COMPANY. In 1890 an English syndicate which had purchased the major breweries in Cincinnati, Ohio and was attempting to purchase those in Milwaukee offered an option around $300,000 to purchase Heeb's, Glab's, Meuser's and Tschirgi and Schwind's breweries. (1) Had the purchase proceeded, the history of one of Dubuque's major industries would have been very different.
The organization of the Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company resulted from a prohibitory law in Iowa. In 1892 there were an estimated fifty heirs of the four original brewers. Many of these people wanted to sell their interests, but were unable to do so because the Clark law and other enactments made brewery property practically unsaleable. (2) To enable the sale of these interests, the men owning the largest interests established the Dubuque Malting Company which took over the property of the heirs and paid them a rental. (3) Despite the prohibition law, brewing was continued so that an estimated 50,000 barrels of beer were produced annually. The owners planned that if the law were enforced or a new one passed, the Dubuque Malting Company could manufacture and sell brewers' supplies and all kinds of grain products. If the law was repealed, the managers could quickly convert the business into brewing and "reach out for the trade of the entire state." (4)
Joining together were the A. HEEB BREWING COMPANY, NORTHERN BREWING COMPANY, IOWA BREWERY, and the WESTERN BREWERY. Initially the new company used as its office the Heeb Brewery at 2127 Couler (Central). (5) The ten acre site chosen for the brewery was located at 30th and Jackson.
The firm of FRIDOLIN HEER & SON drew up the plans. (6) One of the unique characteristics of the plant was the absence of beer cellars or caves. A refrigeration plant costing between $50,000 and $60,000 made them obsolete. The entire building and its equipment was expected to cost between $250,000 to $275,000 (7) Construction began in 1895; the brewery opened for business on May 7, 1896. (8)
There were concerns in the community when the merger was announced. Citizens believed one or more of the breweries would be closed. Others were sure the merger would lead to higher prices. Neither took place. Prices remained the same and the four breweries were simply numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. Branch 1, Heeb's Brewery, became the headquarters with the former barroom renovated into an office. Superintendent Titus SCHMID had two testing rooms each using a different process. One was located in Branch 1 while the other was located in Branch 2, the former Iowa Brewery. Because of its location, Branch 4, the former Western Brewery, was used primarily to supply the country trade.
Ensuring delivery were ten available teams of horses. (9) Distribution was also enhanced by efforts made to "set about building up a permanent business." "Agencies" were established at Dyersville, Cascade, Waterloo, Independence, Fort Dodge, Waukon, Spillville, Fairbanks, Worthington, Manson, Clayton, North Washington, Jackson Junction, Cresco and Conover. Trade in Illinois, Wisconsin and the Dakotas was solicited. (10)
On the opening day, an estimated 20,000 visitors inspected the plant. (11) The supply of 15,000 souvenirs the company had purchased for the event was exhausted by 2:00 p.m. (12) A report of the day stated that "toothsome edibles and the best brew in the country were as free as daylight and air." (13) Music was provided during the day by the DUBUQUE JUVENILE BAND in the refreshment house and the Original Italian Orchestra in the souvenir area. (14) At 3:00 p.m. Alphons Mattews, the master of ceremonies, introduced the president of the company, Nicholas GLAB who welcomed those in attendance. (15)
The resulting company covered ten acres with modern buildings and machinery costing $500,000. (16) The annual production capacity was 300,000 barrels of beer. Water was supplied from an artesian well on the premises; hops for the beer were imported from Bavaria. The refrigerating plant had a capacity of 200 tons of ice daily. (17) The company prided itself in handling telephone orders with delivery within an hour. During the summer, deliveries to homes were made between 7:00-9:00 p.m. (18)
Following the examples of other breweries, Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company constructed saloons in the area to sell its product. (19)
Outside of St. Louis and Milwaukee there were no businesses of its type that compared in size. (20) The plant, then considered the most modern of its type in the country, was estimated to have 224,500 square feet of floor space.
Although the brewery was operated twenty-four hours daily, visitors were welcome at any time. A guide was provided to explain the operation of each of the departments. (25)
The brewery acquired a great deal of property. Many saloon operators simply rented from the brewery until laws were passed stating that breweries could not own and control other business property. To get around this law, the DUBUQUE REALTY COMPANY was formed. This business was nothing more than a holding company for the brewery which could continue to profit from the rented property. (26)
Laws were also passed that breweries in Iowa could only sell to licensed businesses. This law was evaded with the establishment, by Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company, of the East Dubuque Supply Company. Beer was sold to the supply company which then brought the beer back across the river for sale to anyone wishing to purchase it. (27)
On December 31, 1915 PROHIBITION closed the brewery. (28) Iowa was one of thirty-two states which went "dry" prior to the law being put into effect nationally in 1919. Operations however limited were moved to Wisconsin. Production of "near beer," rated at one-half of one-percent alcohol, was continued. (29) Legends persist that Alphonse CAPONE used the Dubuque facilities and shipped out illegal beer in milk cans.
There was an outfit working in the old Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company building on Jackson. It was deserted, but we kept seeing trucks with egg crates pulling in. The Chicago gangsters had set up a multi-million dollar operation--a train would even back in to deliver sugar. Finally the feds came in. (30) Max Eggelston
CORN BELT PACKING COMPANY, a local meat packing firm, was incorporated in 1917. (31) The company quickly moved into the former brewery and began extensive modifications. On October 12, 1919 the first hog was killed and the plant was formally opened. (32) In 1921 the plant employed 250 workers, but was not in business long. In 1924 the building became the property of the Citizens' Investment Company of Dubuque. (33)
In 1937 hopes were raised that the building would have a new owner. Officials of the Chamber of Commerce announced that the newly organized U. S. Sugar and Syrup Refineries Inc. had purchased the building for a corn products refining plant. Cited as attractions for the business was the close proximity to corn, railroads and river transportation. (40) Officials of the company came to Dubuque in 1938 to inspect the building further. (41)
In 1940 the building was purchased by the H & W MOTOR EXPRESS and DUBUQUE PACKING COMPANY for $10,000. (42) The packing company agreed to restrictions placed on the use of the building so that it would not become a nuisance to the people living in the area. The building was used for ham storage. H & W used the premises for their home office.
In 1941 H & W had the frame viaduct that connected the bottling department with the distribution building torn down. Extending across East 30th east of Washington Street, the viaduct, officials claimed, posed a fire and traffic hazard. (43)
In 1977 the home of the former Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company was recommended for placement on the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. (44) The two corporate owners, H & W and the Dubuque Packing Company, protested the designation. A spokesman for Dubuque Pack stated that the designation might restrict the building's owners from "improving the property for use to the best advantage." (45) The Division of Historic Preservation of the Iowa State Historical Department removed the buildings from the Iowa register.
The city council hastily established a conservation district in November 2005 after learning the owners sought a demolition permit. (46) The original plan was to sell the bricks and steel at a profit, but historic preservationists pursued an avenue to prevent the structure's loss. As part of a conservation district, the Historic Preservation Commission got first review of demolition permits. The 30th Street section was sold to Auto and Truck Parks Inc. while the H & W parts were sold to 3M Development. (47)
In the fall of 2008 the city considered including the building in a new urban renewal district. The concept developed because the DUBUQUE STAMPING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY was planning a multi-million dollar expansion project. The city could create tax incentives that would make it less expensive for a developer to expand, or restore a building here.
In 2010 the building became subject to the city's Demolition by Neglect enforcement ordinance. The building's condition made the cost of repairs exorbitant. The owners requested the conservation district be removed to provide them an opportunity to demolish the most deteriorated parts of the structure. They also contacted DUBUQUE MAIN STREET, LTD. for help in finding grants and funding sources. Potential funding included tax-increment financing, federal and state historic tax credits and new-market tax credits.
In 2016 building owner Jim Krueger was given until August 8th to give the city an "executed contract" for the building's stabilization or demolition. Krueger was cited in June for not having the building inspected by a structural engineer. According to court documents, the building then posed a "threat of imminent danger to the general public and surrounding property owners." A heavy rain in July caused part of the building's roof to collapse and a block of East 30th Street was closed in the interest of public safety. (48) On August 10, 2016 a report by IIW Engineers found the middle section of the building where the roof collapsed to be beyond salvage and needed to be demolished at an estimated cost of $715,000. (49)
On September 8, 2016 Jim Krueger announced that he had arranged a buyer for the property who would convert it into an apartment complex. (50) From outside the city, this person planned on investing between $26-30 million. (51) City and Gronen Properties officials, however, said that the sale was by no means final. John Gronen, owner of Gronen Properties said that he had a purchase agreement in place for several months for the portion owned by Krueger. LK Development & Storage LLC owned the portion of the property north of the section owned by Krueger. (53)
By November 16, 2016 another court deadline had been exceeded with no action. Krueger maintained he had a purchase agreement with SLE Investments LC. (52)
Announcement was made on March 21, 2017 that the local landmark had been sold to Steve Emerson, a developer from Cedar Rapids. Emerson paid $40,000. Keith Wiggins, a real estate agent with NAI Iowa Realty Commercial, represented Emerson and had previously said the investor planned a $15 million to $20 million project of renovation. Emerson, present of architecture and design firm Aspect, Inc., was currently involved in a $15 million renovation of the former Smulekoff building in Cedar Rapids. (54)
While efforts to demolish the crumbling section of the building were scheduled to begin during the summer of 2017, developer Steve Emerson noted in June there were no clear plans for redevelopment of the 120-year-old building. He was pursing a federal redevelopment grant and workforce housing and historic preservation tax credits which would determine how the project proceeds. He had also inquired about tax-increment financing rebates through the City of Dubuque. (55)
In June 2018 the city council announced that it would hold a meeting on a proposal to provide $2.5 million in incentives to rehabilitate the building. Emerson had purchased the building for $865,000 in 2017. The city had already pledged up to $500,000 for deconstruction costs. That would be recovered through tax-increment revenue as the valuation of the building increased with improvements. The city had also pledged tax-increment rebates for the work over ten years after the $500,000 was reimbursed. The city also pledged a grant of $7650,000 through the Downtown Housing Creation Program if at east seventy-five apartment units were constructed and $35,000 for facade, design and planning and financial consultant expenses. (56)
The development plan called for Emerson to create at least 110 apartments in two phases. The first phase called for no less than 80 apartments for market-rate rental and the second for at least 30 apartments for market-rate or affordable rental. During the second phase the first floor was to be rehabilitated to provide not less than 17,500 square feet of commercial space. The agreement called for at least 194 parking spaces for tenants. The restoration of the demolished section of the building was scheduled to include a modern, glass treatment that would require the approval of the Iowa State Historical Preservation Office. (57)
1. "Breweries for Sale," The Herald, February 7, 1890, p. 4
2. "Dubuque Malting Company," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 12, 1892, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18920412&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
5. "Dubuque Once Great Brewing Center; In 1892 Four Breweries Did Rushing Business Here; One Covered Ten Acres," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, Apr. 2, 1933, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-_1QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Or4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=2911,6272068&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
7. "A Great Enterprise," Dubuque Daily Herald, August 22, 1894, p. 4
8. "Dubuque One Great Brewing Center..."
9. "Is a Big Concern," Dubuque Daily Herald, May 15, 1892, p. 8. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18920515&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
10. "New Brewery," The Dubuque Herald, August 4, 1895, p. 2
11. "Thousands Were There," Dubuque Sunday Herald, May 8, 1896, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ugNBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L6gMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1463,2878762&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
16. "Burgeoning Brewing," Telegraph Herald, July 14, 1977, p. 7. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=SNFBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=OKoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6514,1733007&dq=a+heeb+brewing+company&hl=en
17. "Dubuque's Malting Company's Plant Unexcelled in Country, Telegraph Herald, February 28, 1910, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NClCAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gKoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3200,3769609&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
18. "Is a Big Concern"
19. "City and Country." The Carroll Herald, Dec. 6, 1905, p. 6. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=SoYoAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xwUGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5847,742781&dq=northern+brewing+company+dubuque&hl=en
20. "Dubuque Once Great Brewing Center; In 1892 Four Breweries Did Rushing Business Here; One Covered Ten Acres," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, Apr. 2, 1933, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-_1QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Or4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=2911,6272068&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
21. Dubuque's Malting Company's Plant..."
26. "Dubuque Once Great Brewing Center..."
29. Schuster, Judy Burns. "Prohibition Began With a Shout and a Gurgle," Telegraph Herald, January 17, 1965, p. 5
30. Johnson, Elaine. "Expert Fisherman Recalls Good Old Days in Dubuque," Telegraph Herald, Aug. 26, 1979, p. 11. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5e9BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XKoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6845,3565704&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
31. "Dubuque Industries Served by Central Station Power #3--Corn Belt Packing Company," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 10, 1921, p. 5. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=E5ZSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vdAMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6154,1246168&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
33. "Syndicate From Milwaukee Buys Corn Belt Plant," Telegraph Herald, July 9, 1933, p. 19. Online. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TB9RAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FL8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=6216,4194866&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
34. "Company Incorporates with $500,000 Capital Stock," Telegraph Herald, July 8, 1934, p. 12. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Lc5BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2akMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3436,1217824&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
35. "New Support Is Sought for Local Brewery," Telegraph Herald and Times-Journal, Oct. 21, 1934, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2-hBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8KkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=7111,488320&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
36. "Work Underway at Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company," Telegraph Herald, July 30, 1933, p. 30. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Wx9RAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FL8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=1450,6512408&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
37. "Local Brewing Company Will Spend Big Sum," Telegraph Herald, Aug. 20, 1933, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=MmlFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QrwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1335,4934417&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
38. "Julien Dubuque Brewing Company," Telegraph Herald, July 15, 1934, p. 7. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=M85BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2akMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5317,2047706&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
39. "Brewing Firm Gets Support From Local Men," Telegraph Herald and Times-Journal, October, 3, 1934, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=GNZBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4qkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2046,5502465&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
40. "New Industry Buys Brewery Building Here," Telegraph Herald, Dec. 12, 1937, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VeRBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EKoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3780,3732847&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
41. "Refinery Officials Check Plant Here," Telegraph Herald, Jan. 16, 1938, p. 18. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LZJSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NaoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3827,1002122&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
42. "County Gets $10,000 Check for Building," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 26, 1940, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FpJSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IMsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2449,4224719&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
43. "Old North End Landmark Removed As Hazard," Telegraph Herald, Aug. 10, 1941, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2XRFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ibwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3248,1947561&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
44. "Washington Park and Two Buildings Receive Historic Nominations," Telegraph Herald, July 23, 1976, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pQZRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=v8AMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5232,3575782&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
45. "Owners Want Historical Tag Lifted," Telegraph Herald, Dec. 29, 1977. p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AO9BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=PaoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6971,4295228&dq=dubuque+brewing+and+malting+company&hl=en
46. Kundert, Rob. "A Battle Brews Over Potential Demolition," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 21, 2005, P. 1A. Online: http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=DQ&p_theme=dq&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=10E08A9A45CE09C8&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM
47. "Time Line in a Bottle," Telegraph Herald, Undated article
48. Jacobson, Ben. "City Offers Ultimatum on Old Brewery," Telegraph Herald, August 4, 2016, p. 1A
49. Barton, Thomas J. "Owner Says Crumbling Landmark is Being Sold," Telegraph Herald, November 16, 2016, p 2.
50. Montgomery, Jeff. "Complex Future for Former H & W Building?" Telegraph Herald, August 10, 2016, p. 2A
51. Barton, Thomas J. "Landmark to Gain New Lease on Life?" Telegraph Herald, September 10, 2016, p. 1A
53. Barton, "Owner Says..."
54. Barton, Thomas J. "Developer Purchases Crumbling Landmark," Telegraph Herald, March 21, 2017, p. 1
55. Barton, Thomas J. "Developer Discusses Plans for Crumbling Landmark," Telegraph Herald, June 18, 2017, p. 1A
56. Goldstein, Bennet, "City Might Help Rehab Historic Building," Telegraph Herald, June 2, 2018, p. 1A
57. Ibid. p. 2A
Information booklet accompanying Bob Reding's display of Dubuque memorabilia from 2007-2010 at the Old Jail
What is the Future of Dubuque's Iconic North End Brewing and Malting Complex?--http://www.preservationiowa.org/news/newsItem.php?id=106