Fountain Brewing Company was founded in this small river town in 1856 to serve a primarily bavarian immigrant population. Over the years, as the area was settled, businesses grew and ever more people found their new homes, the brewery grew to accommodate demand.
Based on original lager recipes from Germany, the primary label FOUNTAIN BREW was gradually expanded to incorporate brews that celebrated the seasons and met regulations in Minnesota that required a lower alcohol content (“near beer” was the popular term of the day) for consumption.
When the large breweries concentrated their sales efforts on easily produced options at a much lower price and flooded the market, the smaller competitors had no chance and Fountain Brew joined the pages of history, declaring an end to production on May 6th, 1965 after one final, glorious batch. Ultimately, the brewhouse and associated buildings were bought at auction and torn down to be replaced with an apartment building.
On May 6th, 1995 The Monarch Tavern was bought by John and Lori Harrington and a renovation project was undertaken to restore that building to its historical prominence. Luckily, Wilbert (Schmitty) Schmitt walked by everyday on his way to pick up his mail and got to talking history with John, an avid fan of all things historical, traditional and a good story.
A BREWER'S LEGACY
After disclosing his employment as the Assistant Brewmaster and general “jack of all trades” at the brewery, Schmitty brought all the brewing recipes, records and manufacturing process and gave them to John with the promise that all would be done to bring the beer back in it’s original form and save the story of this rich piece of local history.
On May 6th, 1997 Schmitty finally got his wish as he was the first person to once again taste the original brew after 32 years. After a thoughtful taste, then another with a couple smacks of his lips, he was met with a “Well?” from those gathered for the event. “Tastes like another!” was his enthusiastic response and the journey back was complete. Well, at least once everyone else had helped drink up the first batch!
Since that small, memorable beginning Fountain Brew has grown to incorporate six different lager-based recipes and is served on the taps of The Monarch and their new tasting room known as: SCHMITTY’S FOUNTAIN BREW DRAUGHT HOUSE. As of this writing (April, 2018) the plan to finally bring the brewery back to full realization has reached the next level with plans to break ground next to The Monarch and build a new version of the brewery.
We invite you to enjoy a cold Brew That Made Milwaukee Jealous at The Monarch Public House, out on the beer garden deck or down one level at Schmitty’s Fountain Brew Draught House. You’ll ask for another one!