A watch of Hamm’s Brewery in St. Paul, draft by august Maritzen, ca. 1905. The ornamental facets of the building were later removed as the framework were updated because that operations. The huge house top top the bluff close to the brewery was constructed for Theodore Hamm and also his wife, Louise.

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The Theodore Hamm impending Company, among Minnesota’s most iconic breweries, started brewing beer in about 1865 together Excelsior Brewery in St. Paul. Hamm’s to be brewed in Minnesota because that well over a century, and its short national profile to be bolstered through both that iconic animated bear and its Minnesota-centric slogan: “From the soil of sky-blue waters.”

Theodore Hamm acquired the Pittsburgh Brewery in St. Paul from Andrew Keller around 1865. The complex of buildings, i beg your pardon he renamed Excelsior Brewery, stand on the bluffs above the Phelan Creek Valley, close to Swede Hollow. Excelsior prospered over the next two decades to become the second largest brewery in the state in 1886. Together the brewery’s output expanded beyond its existing facilities, Theodore Hamm rental architect respectable Maritzen to develop a large complex of brewery buildings. Maritzen’s design was ornate and also decorative, and also the framework opened to the general public in September that 1894. The Theodore Hamm Brewing firm was officially incorporated a couple of years later, in 1896. Jacob Schmidt, who had known Theodore Hamm in Baden, Germany, was an early brewmaster at Hamm’s before beginning his own completing brewery in St. Paul.

Theodore Hamm died in 1903, leaving his kid William and grandson william Jr. To run the brewery. Hamm’s relatives regulated the brewery for a sizeable part of its life time — consisting of the barred era, which decimated the Minnesota imminent industry. In 1919, before Prohibition, there were sixty breweries in Minnesota. In 1933, over there were only six, Hamm’s included. By climate its service leaders had end up being public figures, and also William Jr. To be kidnapped by members the the Barker–Karpis gang in 1933. He was went back safely ~ a $100,000 ransom was paid, however no one from the Barker–Karpis gang was ever charged with a crime.

After Prohibition and also World war II, Hamm’s to be well positioned to expand. In 1945 it rental Campbell-Mithun, a Minneapolis-based advertising agency, to develop a marketing project that would develop a nationwide profile. Meanwhile, the firm acquired breweries throughout the United says that might distribute their beer in various markets. In 1953, Hamm’s to buy the Rainier Brewery in san Francisco, complied with by Acme in Los Angeles, Gunther in Baltimore, and also Gulf Brewing company in Houston.


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The Hamm’s bear made his an initial appearance in a 1953 television commercial. This commercials often featured the klutzy man bear in the woods or playing a sport with other woodland creatures. A jingle, beginning “From the soil of sky-blue waters/From the floor of pines, lofty balsams/Comes the beer refreshing/Hamm’s, the beer refreshing,” to be played come the win of the Hamm’s be affected by each other stomping top top the floor or roll a log down the river. While it might seem inappropriate for an animated character come advertise an alcoholic beverage, the commercials were popular among viewers. In 1959, a Hamm’s commercial to be selected as one of the peak ten advertisements through a marketing organization, and also the bear showed up on assorted products and also advertisements for the brewery.

Even though Hamm’s broadened its industry with new national breweries and also had a effective marketing project with a recognizable character, the brewery struggled to operate nationwide. In 1968, Hamm’s was obtained by Heublein, a food and also beverage coporation, group in Connecticut. In 1975, Heublein marketed Hamm’s come Olympia Brewing, which was soon got by Pabst. Pabst, in exchange for a brewery in Tampa, then sold the St. Paul facility to Stroh’s in 1984. Hamm’s production was relocated to Milwaukee, and also the St. Paul facility developed Stroh’s until 1997, as soon as it to be closed for good.

In 1999, Pabst transferred the Hamm’s trademark to Miller, that has ongoing to sector the beer with the 2010s. Hamm’s has actually grown as a müller brand due to the fact that of its low price and also unique marketing in the direction of loyal fans—sometimes described as “Hammpions.” even though the Hamm’s bear has long been absent from advertisements, the personality is tho strongly linked with the label and also his relenten on imminent memorabilia is sought ~ by collectors. The brewery framework in Saint Paul—abandoned and also dilapidated for many years—are partially owned in 2019 by a genuine estate emerging company. They home a microbrewery, a distillery, and also a trapeze facility, amongst other businesses.

For much more information on this topic, examine out the original entry ~ above MNopedia.

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Alex Tieberg

Alex Tieberg, an steel Ranger, newly graduated from Middlebury college in Middlebury, Vermont, v a level in American studies. His academic interests incorporate Iron range and American commercial history, public soil policy, and economic restructuring in the American Midwest and an excellent Lakes regions. He is an intern in ~ the Minnesota Historical society for autumn 2019.