REHABILITATING A HISTORIC BUILDING
FOR MODERN LIVING.
The Richter Brewing Company of Escanaba was organized as a manufacturing enterprise in Escanaba on August 11, 1900. The towering stone and brick brewery building was opened in 1901 on 85 feet of frontage on the far west end of the city’s main street and covering the front of four city lots.
Brewing operations commenced in February with 15 employees and $17,000 in state-of-the-art brewing equipment from the Vilter Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee, including a 25-ton ice-making machine. After a final adjustment to filtering machinery by Frank Bausch, an “expert brewer employed by Goldman & Co. of Chicago,” the first beer was produced on April 23, 1901, with supplies going first to shareholders’ establishments followed by sample kegs going to “every saloon in the city,” (The Iron Port newspaper, April 27, 1901). Brewed products between 1901 and 1920 were marketed under the labels Richter’s Select, Richter’s Special Brew and Peninsula Pride as well as Richto, a non-alcoholic brew.
But with the inevitability of Prohibition and the Volstead Act, the change to non-alcoholic products marked a turn in the Richter company’s fortunes. The building was sold in March, 1925. The next known ownership transition for the building came in 1933 with the repeal of Prohibition and the sale of the brewery building to the Delta Brewing Company Inc.
On Sept. 24, 1933, the Escanaba Press featured a multi-page congratulatory spread, with articles and advertising touting the values of beer (“beer builds hemoglobin”) and the opportunities of again having locally produced beer from the Delta Brewing Co., now offered in wooden kegs, steel kegs and bottles. The city’s celebration included “Delta Brewing Co. Day at the Delta Hotel” on Monday, Sept. 25 and a grand opening party at the brewery which featured free beer and sandwiches drawing a crowd of 15,000 to town. Products of the Delta Brewing Co. during its years of operation included Hunter Special Beer, Arctic Club Beer, Buckingham Ale, Delta Special Beer, Hiawatha Draught Beer and Pioneer Beer. That company eventually went into bankruptcy and out of business in 1940.