History of The Mineral Spring Brewery & Guest House
The limestone brewery tucked in the hillside on the edge of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, was built by William Terrill sometime in 1850. The construction cost $4,000. A piece in the local paper from February 1851 says that the brewery building is for rent and “ We hope the time comes when Mr. Terrill will find it to his advantage to occupy this building for some better purpose.” William Terrill brewed beer for a short period of time and was succeeded by Jacob Roggy.
In 1854, Charles and Frederick Gillman purchased the brewery. In 1855, Jacob Spielmann was admitted as a partner. The firm name was Gillman Bros. & Co., the brewery was called “Wisconsin Brewery”. In 1868, Jacob Spielmann disposed of his interest to the Gillman brothers. In 1874, Charles Gillman became the sole owner at which time the production was about 2,500 barrels a year. On May 23, 1878 the brewery was hit by a tornado. The brewery and five surrounding buildings were severely damaged. During the summer and fall the brewery was rebuilt with the most modern equipment. The “Tornado Brewery” had a new capacity of 6,000 barrel per year. It was regarded one of the leading brewing establishments of Iowa County. At the time it employed six workers and distributed beer in Iowa, LaFayette and Grant Counties.
A Little Background Information
The Mineral Spring Brewery aka Wisconsin Brewery pre-1878 tornado
In the fall of 1897, Ballo Breutting purchased the brewery. Some changes and enlargements came with his ownership. On April 24, 1902 while Ballo Breutting was attending entertainment at the Masonic lodge a fire broke out at the brewery. Much of the building was burned and the equipment was melted and warped in the fire. A large stash of beer was saved in the cellars. Ballo Breutting had an estimated $50,000 in the brewery and equipment. He had $13,000 insurance.
In March 1903, Otto Lieder and his brother-in-law, Frank Unterholzner bought the brewery. They rebuilt the burned brewery for $20,000. The new brewing capacity was 10,000 barrels a year. The brewery was named the “Mineral Spring Brewing Company”. It was named for the spring that was used to make the beer, the spring still flows through the building today. Otto Lieder, the brewmaster got his brewing experience at the Ruhland Brewery in Baraboo where he worked for 21 years. Frank Unterholzner ran the 268-acre brewery farm where they grew what they needed for brewing the beer. The farm enabled them to continue producing beer during the war when there was rationing. It is said that larger brewing companies bought beer from Mineral Spring during this time, to sell as their own.
In 1921 Mineral Spring formed a corporation, “The Mineral Spring Products Company”. Otto Lieder, Frank Unterholzner, Ray Lieder, Sr. and Milton Unterholzner headed it. From 1940 until 1957, Mary Lieder was president. Mary was Otto’s wife and Frank’s sister. In 1957 Ray Lieder Jr. was named President and Milton Unterholzner Vice President.
Gillman's Dam For Ice Pond on Brewery Creek Across from Brewery on Shakerag Street ca. 1880-1910
The Mineral Spring Brewery ca. 1881, post-1878 tornado, dubbed "Tornado Brewery"
Mineral Spring Brewery Horse-Drawn Beer Barrel Float in High Street Parade, Mineral Point
The Mineral Spring Brewery aka Wisconsin Brewery, post-1902 fire
On May 23, 1960, The Mineral Spring Brewery closed. They needed to either reinvest or stop brewing. With bigger brewing companies coming on strong and many small town breweries closing, closing was the choice they made. It was very hard on Mineral Point to have the brewery close. Before closing, most of the beer was sold within a 60-mile radius of Mineral Point. Six trucks delivered beer to Dubuque, Rockford, Kenosha, Racine and Madison. At the time of closing, the Board of Directors consisted of two Lieder daughters, Mrs. Stella Lieder-Simpson and Mrs. Cecelia Lieder-Leahy along with Dr. Lawrence Unterholzner. The officers were; President, Ray Lieder Jr.; Vice President Charles Bolan; Treasurer, Charles Esch and Secretary, Kenneth Ellery.
In a newspaper article about the closing, Ray Lieder, Sr. remembered delivering beer to Linden, Mifflin, Rewey, Dodgeville, Hollandale and Blanchardville with a horse drawn wagon. He started working at the brewery at age nine and retired as the brewmaster when he was 60. Once Bishop William P. O’Conner of the Catholic Diocese of Madison told of receiving a letter from a Chicago Bishop asking for the transfer of a young priest from “Mineral Spring parish”. He wrote back “Mineral Spring is the beer and Mineral Point is the town.”
The Mineral Spring Brewery, date unknown
Ray "Bud" Lieder, Jr. - 3rd generation Brewmaster early 1950's
Employees of The Mineral Spring Brewery including 2nd & 3rd generation Brewmasters Ray Lieder, Sr., and Ray "Bud" Lieder, Jr.
The Mineral Spring Brewery, ca. early-mid 1950's
The Mineral Spring Guest House, ca. 1971
In August, 1960, my parents bought the property at the front of the Mineral Spring Brewery site once used as the Brewmaster's residence, the corporate offices and, at times, production and bottling of beer following the 1878 tornado and 1902 fire. It remained my family's home until my Father's passing in June, 2013. Following several years renovating my family home, I am proud to pay tribute to the 110 year brewery history and welcome you to enjoy The Mineral Spring Guest House as my family and I have for so many years.
Welcome & Be My Guest at The Mineral Spring Guest House,