My journey to explore the history of the Leinekugle Brewing Company and the changes they have made over the years has been a “success” in my eyes. It has forced me to finally go and take the tour of the brewery, and has allowed for me to discover more about the history of my favorite beer! I had always known a “vague” history of Leinekugle. In doing this blog, I have really been able to answer a few questions I had always been curious about. I was always interested in knowing more details about the founder (Jacob Leinenkugel), and how he started the brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I found out that Jacob Leinenkugel had a family history of brewing beer, he further helped himself by choosing the great city of Chippewa Falls, where the logging industry and pure water where two key ingredients to starting a brewery. In doing a project like this, taking a tour provided not only great informational facts, but allowed for me to recognize and understand the changes/progression’s the brewery has made over its years in business. The Leinenkugel Brewery has come a long ways since its start up 147 years ago. It has survived through the toughest times of being in the brewing industry (The Great Depression, The Prohibition). Leinenkugel has proved they are a well-established company by adapting to change. They were able to fight through the Prohibition and The Great Depression by taking on new business. They created non-alcoholic beverage called “Leino”, along with taking on the business of bottling soda water to help them survive. Leinenkugel further showed the quality of the company by merging with nationwide powerhouse Miller Brewing Company in 1988. Though I have learned a lot from my research of Leinenkugel Brewing Company, one thing I may continue to explore is what key contributions were made by each president during his time in charge? I would also like to know more in detail about the brewery’s history during the time of World War II.
While continuing my research of Leinenkugel Brewing Company I decided to pay a visit to where it all goes down. On April 1st of 2014 I took the tour of the l brewery. I really wanted to take the tour not only to see what new information I could get from it, but also to get the experience of seeing the inside of the historical brewery up close and personal. Upon taking the tour I was able to jot down a few interesting facts that I was not able to find anywhere else. Taking the tour gave me a great firsthand account of experiencing where the founder (Jacob Leinenkugel) began his business, along with being able to see the additions they have made to the brewery over the years.
While taking the tour I found out a few fun facts I was not able to discover anywhere else. I was able to find out a little more background information on the founder (Jacob Leinenkugel), and some of the things that occurred while his time with the brewery. First when Jacob immigrated to Wisconsin with his parents and four brothers, they first settled is Sauk City Wisconsin. Jacob later decided to move to Chippewa Falls, while his brothers and uncle established their own small breweries in Eau Claire. My favorite piece of information that I got from the tour was, that when Jacob Leinenkugel and John Miller started the brewery its original name was The Spring Brewing Company. It was in 1890, after Jacob bought out John that he had changed the name. He then changed it to The Jacob Leinenkugel Spring Brewing Company. It was later after Jacob passed that his son dropped the word “Spring”, giving us the name we have today. Another great piece of information I got from the tour guide was that Jacob’s wife and children were very involved in their fathers company. While not only taking care of the kids and the household, Jacob’s wife, Josephine cooked three meals every day for the 20 employees of the brewery. She wasn’t the only one pulling her wait though. The children often spent time working at the brewey when they weren’t attending school. For many years both the Leinenkugel and the Miller family lived on the same lot as the brewery. In 1880 a barn was constructed to house the horses used for delivery, but in 1905 the barn burnt down after being struck by lightning. It was quickly rebuilt and can still stands today. Leinenkugel Brewery used horses for delivery up until 1945! I thought this to was very interesting the fact that they continued to use horses even after the invention of the automobile. Another fun fact that I thought was worth adding to my blog is that today Leinenkugel is the 7th oldest working brewery in the nation along with being the 4th oldest craft brewery.
I was very happy with what I got from attending the tour, I was able to gather a lot of information that I couldn’t be found on the internet. Going on the tour I was able to gather the key information I had been looking for. I really wanted to know more about the founder (Jacob Leinenkugel); the tour provided a great background on him and even his family and what they contributed to the business. The tour not only provided the great historical facts but also gave me an up-close and personal view on how the brewery functions today. now that I have gathered what information I wanted on the founder, I would like to explore what contributions Jacob’s ancestors have made while their time in charge of the Brewery. I feel like this will be a difficult task though, because I struggled to find information on the founder of the company. I think it will be more difficult to find information on the men who only kept the business running.
Upon continuing my research of the Leinenkugel Brewery, I was able to find a good secondary source that provided me with some key information. On fundinguniverse.com, the article of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company History makes itself a reliable source by providing key information about the brewery’s long history along with providing a nice overview of the business. The overview informs you on the brewery’s current address, phone number, home website, number of employees and more. The article is nicely broken up into different time periods that describe Leinenkugel’s history. These sections cover a wide range of the brewery’s history beginning with the startup of Jacob Leinenkugel in 1867, to the information about its current expansion in the 1990s.
This article really helped me answer a few questions that I had been exploring. The source provided me with a great summary of how the brewery got started. The company’s founder Jacob Leinenkugel was an immigrant from Bavaria, and came from a family of brew masters. Picking the great city of Chippewa Falls was no coincidence though. During the time of Jacob’s move to Chippewa Falls WI, the logging business was in the midst of its peek. This meant man were working manual labor for 12-16 hours a day/ everyday! So what better way to end a long work day than with a “couple” beers? The logging business wasn’t the only factor in making Chippewa Falls the home of Leinenkugel’s beer, the pure water was another key factor in establishing the brewery here. Pure water was an easy and plentiful ingredient that came from the Chippewa Rivers and the Big Eddy Spring. A family history of brew masters, the logging business, and pure water, made for three great ingredients to establishing the Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls WI.
Another great aspect I got from this source is that of seeing the progression of the distribution of the beer. Beginning with Jacob’s start up where his partner John Miller delivered the beer in a horse and cart to the local area, to now the wide range of distribution throughout the United States. Having the ability to make the beer more known throughout the U.S. came in 1988, when one of the nation’s biggest breweries (Miller Brewing Company) wanted to team up with the small brewery from Chippewa Falls. The article describes how many of the faithful Leinenkugel customers became nervous after the merger of the two companies. Loyal customers were afraid that Miller being the big company it was, would come in and change everything including the historical recipe. This obviously was not the case, Miller wanted to join with Leinenkugel for its respectable product while at the same time Leinenkugel wanted to join with Miller to help them expand its products distribution.
I was happy to read about this source in another classmate’s blog. After looking up the source myself and skimming over it I found that this source would be very helpful in my research. This article was able to provide me with information on two of my key research topics (how the brewery’s got started, why Miller/ Leinenkugel merged together). Though I got a lot from this article I would still like to explore more sources to find a more in depth story of Jacobs’s startup of the brewery. I am hoping to find some time to go and take to Leinenkugel Brewery tour to find out some facts/story’s that cant be found on the internet, along with getting a look at the inside of the historical brewery.
The first source I decided to use is that of the Leinenkugle’s website (leinie.com). Seeing that my questions pertain to things that happen long ago, it is difficult to find primary sources. I figured this would be the best source to build a base of information off of. I liked the idea of starting with the Leinenkugl’s website as my first source, because it provided a brief yet informative timeline of the brewery. (https://leinie.com/Heritage.aspx#)
The timeline provided key points in the in the brewery’s history, starting back from the beginning all the way till our previous year of 2013. Where the timeline lacks debts in information, it shows the key points and changes the brewery has adapted to in its 147 years of existence. From this I was able to gather some information to answer my question of what changes the Leinenkugel Brewing had to make over its history. One of the key time periods I was most interested in is that of the prohibition era. I found out that in 1919 when the prohibition had passed the Leinenkugel Brewing switched from brewing beer to brewing “Leino,” a non-alcoholic beer. In 1920 the brewery took on bottling soda water. By the end of the prohibition Leinenkugel had become the largest bottler of soda water in the area. In 1933 when the prohibition came to an end the brewery “quickly” began making beer again. Another key point in the timeline is that of the Miller/ Leinenkugel merger that occurred in 1988.
Though I got one of my key research questions answered I still would like to know more about how Jacob Leinenkugel the founder of the brewery got it all started, along with more details about different periods in the brewery’s long history. A new question I would like to research is, why did the Leinenkugel Brewery decided to merge with the Miller Brewing Company?
I choose to do my research on the history of the Leinenkugel Brewing Company, to see how they have progressed, and what changes they have made over the years.
I am interested in this topic, because I am from Chippewa Falls, WI; home of the Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Being born and raised in Wisconsin I know “beer” is always a great subject for discussion, because everyone knows how much Wisconsinites love their beer! Having a brewery in my home town has made Leinenkugel the choice of beer for my family for generations. My grandfather drank Leinenkugel almost his entire life. This than led to it being my dad’s beer of choice, and has now been my preference for beer for the past few years. Though I grew up in the town, I am still unfamiliar with its long history and the changes it has undergone since its start up in 1867.
I feel this topic is worth exploring, because I see Leinenkugel as more than just a beer. It’s a family tradition, and a company that has had a huge impact on the city of Chippewa Falls and the community I grew up in. I am really interested in knowing more about how it all started, and what changes they have adapted to over different periods of time (i.e. The Prohibition Era).