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Red Lodge Brewing Company--Red Lodge Canning Company Historic District - Red Lodge, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 45° 11.756 W 109° 14.710
12T E 637835 N 5006213
Quick Description: From grog to peas, this complex produced brew for less than ten years, later producing canned peas for just under half a century.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 4/22/2019 11:46:19 PM
Waymark Code: WM10EBC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ZenPanda
Views: 0

Long Description:
The first building on the site, the main brewery building, was designed by Link & Haire, Architects, of Billings, MT modifying John Link's plans for the Washoe Brewery in Anaconda, MT. At a cost of $75,000, the four storey brew house and three storey warehouse were completed in early 1911. Not long after, the 60x40 foot combination bottling house and office building was completed.

In January 1912, the Red Lodge Brewing Company introduced their first beer called "The Rosebud. Purest and Best of All." Their advertisement declared "We Use Only the Best of Everything in the preparation of our product. For example, Red Lodge Water, purest on earth. What can prevent us from making pure Beer?"

Another promotional advertisement claimed that "'Rosebud' bottled beer and the famous keg beer turned out at our modern and up-to-date plant is winning favor everywhere" due to "pure water, the best malt and a thorough brewing process."38 "Montana Bud -Pure and Wholesome" became their most popular brand. The last beer brewed prior to prohibition was "Glacier Beer - It's the Water."
From the NRHP Registration Form

The good times lasted for a few years, then The Volstead Act became law on January 1, 1918, shutting down this and all other breweries in the country. After making "Near Beer" and soft drinks for a time, the brewery was closed permanently in 1921.

On March 11,1926, the Red Lodge Canning Company incorporated, taking over the old Red Lodge Brewing Company and opening a pea cannery. At that time a three-story brick and frame addition was made to the brewery to house new canning equipment. Becoming a major employer in Red Lodge, the cannery operated continuously until 1975. With peas as the main producet canned, the cannery also tried other vegetables, such as beans, beets and carrots, but from 1930 on few other vegetables were canned. With a small permanent staff, ranging from six to fourteen, in later years the cannery employed from 200 to 300 persons during canning time. Initially about 50 days in length, in later years the cannery was able to lengthen the canning season to 75 days. Though the cannery remained open for nearly half a century, perhaps it shouldn't have. Witness the following:

"To tell you the truth, it [the cannery] never should have started in the first place. Red Lodge was the world's worst place to have a canning operation." Some of the reasons cited for this claim include "a short growing season, thin soil, high altitude, the long distance from market, and the high freight costs of supplies."55 The company also had financial difficulties early on when Mr. Myers absconded with some of its capital. During the 1930s, the cannery suffered a loss for several years but continued to operate.
From the NRHP Registration Form

Pure Rock Creek water and a ready market of thirsty coal miners struck Bozeman beer baron Julius Lehrkind as a recipe for success. With nephews Fred and Paul, Julius incorporated the Red Lodge Brewing Company in 1910, hiring the prominent architectural firm of Link and Haire to design the monumental brick brewery as well as the bottling plant next door. Red Lodge contractor Anton Roat constructed both buildings. The brewery design—modified from plans John Link created for the Washoe Brewery in Anaconda—reflected the owners’ prosperity, pride in their product, and European heritage. It also reflected the building’s function. The ornamental tower was an integral part of a gravity flow system that moved huge quantities of liquid through the brewing process without the use of pumps. The owners’ widely advertised decision to use local Fromberg brick and union labor tied the brewery to the Red Lodge patrons it hoped to serve. Prohibition spelled the end of the brewery, but the building received a second life when a Billings capitalist purchased it in 1925. Sturdy construction, an established railroad spur, connection to city water, and room for expansion made the property the perfect site for a factory—and the former brewery was soon converted into a pea cannery. Cannery owners constructed the three-story wood addition in 1927. The cannery, which operated through 1975, was an important part of the Red Lodge economy, seasonally employing up to 300 people in the rush to preserve the highly perishable product.
From the NRHP plaque at the building

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