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Brewery In Pine Island – 1869

This is an excerpt from a recently published book "Land of Amber Waters" by Doug Halvorson.   Thank you to Rick Olsen for bringing it to our attention.

"Pine Island (Goodhue County) John Ferber (1869-1873) John Geil (1873-1874) John Ferber (1874-1893) Location : West side of Main Street between Walnut and White (former street names) just south of the Zumbro River. In 1869 John Ferber began making beer in Pine Island. Excise records suggest that his capacity was just under ten barrels per month. Ferber produced both lager and ale - as late as 1882 he advertised ale, porter, and "good lager beer". After two years he apparently traded his brewery for John Geil's (or Gill's) farm and took up farming. (In 1872 the Red Wing Argus reported that a dog pup with his six legs had been born on his farm.) In 1874 Ferber returned to brewing - though given his production, he might have been doing it part time. He brewed only forty barrels in 1875, and his largest recorded production was not much more than 100 barrels. Part of the reason for this may have been that Pine Island voted to go dry several times during Ferber's career. On March 30 1883 the Pine Island Journal carried the following article: On Wednesday of last week John Ferber was arraigned before the court and his case was continued until Monday. On Monday he plead guilty to the charge of selling beer and was fined $25 and costs or twenty days in jail. Immediately following this case he was arrested upon another case, plead guilty, and was fined $50 or sixty days in jail. He will board at Red Wing. Ferber continued to brew on a small scale for the next ten years, but finally retired in 1893 and returned to farming."

Also, the 1874 Andreas Atlas of Minnesota shows the Pine Island Brewery on the Pine Island map.

(Printed in Pine Island Area Historical Society Newsletter  April 2008)