The Durand Brewery and Bottle House
by: Kim and Elizabeth
Edited by Jake Haskins in March of 2004
Did you know that Durand had a brewery? Neither did Kim or I, till now.
The brewery was built in 1863, located by West Prospect Street. Harstoff and G. Stending were the first owners, they called it The Durand Brewery Co. and Bottling House. They owned the brewery for three years, and then sold it to Philip Lorenz in 1866.
Because of a fire the brewery ceased business in 1882. Up until 1890 the property was bought by Frank Baur. When the brewery opened after being closed for eight years, it was almost an instant success. Mr. Baur had a short time partner named N. H. Mertis. He sold interest to Jacob Breunig. The brewery then became the Baur and Breunig Co.
The building was a brick and iron structure, 56x200 feet. The building houses the malt house, ice storage, brewery, and other departments. There were about 3,000 barrels of beer produced yearly, and the product was mostly sold in Durand. Mr. Baur had also quite a shipping trade in both keg and bottled beer. The bottling work occupied a separate building.
The product was made from artesian water and other pure ingredients. It was not tainted with mixtures that could be injurious. While Mr. Baur owned the brewery, he made his own malts, kept a high grade, and had one of the best reputations for quality.
In 1903, The Baur and Breunig went back to being called The Durand Brewery Co. Then in January of 1915, Jacob Breunig retired from the brewery. Later he bought his own brewery in Bloomer, Wisconsin.
According to James P Wilcox, a grandson of Frank and Katherine Bauer, the brewery closed with the advent of Prohibition. Mr. Baur did not chose to produce "near beer" (with a maximum alcohol content of 2%) since he felt that it was an inferior product. During the depression Mr. Baur helped his workers and his suppliers of hops and wheat so that they did not suffer financial disaster until he used up most of his savings. Men of this quality seem particularly refreshing in today's world as we read of corporate greed, and absence of concern for others at corporations like Enron. Now, the Durand Brewery was hardly an Enron size wise, but the managers of this large corporation certainly could have learned a lot about responsibility to their business and to their workers from examples like Mr. Baur.
After Prohibition, Mr. Baur planned to reopen the brewery in 1934, but was unable to due to financial problems. In the year 1967, the last buildings of The Durand Brewery Co. and Bottling House burnt to the ground. Now Bauer Built owns the land that the brewery once stood.