Bierbauer Brewing Company was the first brewery built west of St. Paul, MN. William Bierbauer and his brother, Jacob, had fled Germany’s 1848 revolutions and later became part of Mankato’s founding residents.
In 1862 the company opened among the hills of North Rock Street. They used the hillside caves to store and cool the Bierbauer beer kegs in the days before electricity.
1919’s Prohibition Amendment, while never legally outlawing the consumption of alcohol, did make the production, distribution, sale and transport of any alcoholic beverages a federal offense. Many breweries elected to close their doors until Prohibition would be overturned. Bierbauer Brewing Company chose to wait 14 years until Congress repealed the 18th Amendment in 1933. That same year Bierbauer changed ownership to Minneapolis millionaire G. R. Martin and was renamed Kato Brewery. Only about 10 percent of the brewery’s product was sold in the Mankato area.
Kato Brewery, now known to the area as the Mankato Brewing Company (not associated with the newest brewery incarnation located in North Mankato), closed its doors in 1967 due to financial difficulties and these buildings pictured here were razed in the early 1970s.
TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is done in partnership with KEYC News 12 in Mankato. To watch this segment live, tune into the noon news on Thursdays.