The brewmaster beckons

150 years is a long time.

The "committee" has been meeting and plans are well underway for a big celebration to commemorate the 150th year of the founding of the Hamm's Brewing Company.

It was back in 1865 that founder Theodore Hamm began producing beer, utilizing water from Phalen Creek, which flowed through his brewery property at Minnehaha and Payne avenues.

Later deep wells were dug and clear, cool waters from aquifers below the Twin Cities were tapped to make the brew even more enticing.

The area around the brewery soon became the home of many East Side residents who found jobs and built homes in and around the well-known establishment.

Theodore Hamm built a huge, stately home on the bluff above his brewery that became a focal point to the surrounding community. For years steps wound from atop the bluff to the area below, and one could easily imagine the man originally from Baden, Germany, making his way down the steep stairway to the brewery.

Animated TV commercials featuring the friendly, funny Hamm's Beer bear graced the airways for many years, and the popular jingle praising the beverage from the "Land of Sky Blue Waters" became nearly a byword for Minnesota in many homes throughout the Upper Midwest.

Gradually, the business began to fall on hard times and was sold to other well-known brands of the golden amber drink.

Stroh Brewing Company took over operations on the corner of Minnehaha and Payne avenues in St. Paul in the 1980s, and then closed down the plant in 1997. 

Since the favorite drink of many Twin Citians was no longer being produced locally, people ventured on to other brews. MillerCoors now owns the Hamm's brand of beers.

The 'committee' wants to spread the word

The months of planning are rapidly approaching a climax, and the people involved are looking for any and all former employees to gather to mark the 150th anniversary of Hamm's.

The event will be held — where else but in a brewery — Sunday, Sept 20, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Summit Brewing Company at 910 Montreal Circle in St. Paul.

Summit Brewery has kindly offered to open its doors so that former Hamm's employees and their guests can reunite with their friends from the past. It's located just south of West Seventh Street and just east of Interstate 35E.

The registration for the afternoon's activities will begin at 3 p.m.

Barry Davis has consented to give a brief history of the Hamm's Brewery. There will be a buffet dinner, accompanied by music and video presentation. Cake and door prizes will be included.

There will be displays of materials, artifacts and memorabilia from the various companies that produced beer at the East Side facility.

A commemorative "pint-sized" glass featuring a picture of Theodore Hamm will be sold for $5 each. Tickets are $15 per person.

Weather permitting, a group picture of attendees will be taken outside.

Anyone wishing more information can call Pat Bowlin at 651-774-2356 or Bill Daly at 651-772-2706.

Or if you prefer you may also receive information by e-mailling Jim Driscoll at or Geri Kustelski at

Quick takeoffs

A couple of events you may wish to be a part of. First, the Minnesota Old Timers Football 44th annual Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Tuesday, Sept. 29, at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Cost of the event is $30 with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. Being honored that evening will be TOM BARNES, ST. PAUL CENTRAL; GERRY BROWN, ST. THOMAS; STEVE DOODY, SOUTH ST. PAUL; GREGG WONG, MINNEAPOLIS CENTRAL; and BILL ZUCCO, ST. PAUL CENTRAL. Call GARY "GUS" GUSTAFSON at 651-777-0286; JERRY FOLEY 651-439-1379; or BILL MARTIN 651-484-6416 for reservations or further information. . . . Next the ST. PAUL Old Timers Fast Pitch Softball Association will hold its hall of fame banquet Oct. 14 at the Moose Hall in Maplewood.  Inducted that evening will be PAUL C. ARNTZEN, DAREN BETZOLD, JIM DETVILER, PAUL HARRINGTON, GLEN KNIPPENBERG, TIM McGLAD JR., and JOHN PAITICH . . . Hey, RUTH. You hang in there!

Wally Wakefield can be reached at or at 651-748-7826.


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