The Grain Belt beer sign has long been an iconic Minnesota landmark overlooking the Mississippi River. The sign is ever reminding us of the beer’s rich 124-year history ingrained in Minnesota’s culture and economy from its creation back in 1893. Called Golden Grain Belt Old Lager, this popular beer soon became the flagship product of the then Minneapolis Brewing Company. Since 2002, the Grain Belt brand is now owned by August Schell Brewing Company out of New Ulm. August Schell Brewing Company wants to preserve the Grain Belt legacy and entrench the brewery and beer in Minnesota’s history by relighting the decades dark Grain Belt sign.
Built in the 1940s and installed in its current home on Nicollet Island since 1950, the Grain Belt sign has remained dark since 1975. August Schell Brewing Company wanted the sign to shine again. The company purchased the sign last year and in order to protect this Minnesota landmark, the brewery is working with historical consultants Hess, Roise and Company in order to add the Grain Belt sign to the National Register of Historic Places. In a press release, Charlene Roise, president of Hess, Roise and Company, said,
“It’s a gem, a bodacious Minneapolis landmark – and a rare survivor among the once common supersized signs that advertised products and attractions across the United States. It deserves to join the iconic Las Vegas sign in Nevada on the National Register of Historic Places.”
The sign will remain dark no more. On December 30th at 5:30pm, the Grain Belt sign will light up, glowing across the river and brightening the Minneapolis skyline. This historic sign comes with some modern technology. The sign will have LED lights that not only save on cost and energy, but also will have the ablility to change color for holidays and special events much like the lights on the 35W bridge. The plan is to have the sign light up each night and be set to a timer to shut off during the wee hours so as not to disturb people’s sleep.
The best part is you can be etched in Minnesota’s history and join the relighting festivities. The brewery will celebrate by hosting two pub crawls and an “After Glow” party on Nicollet Island with beer and music. The pub crawls will take place on Saturday, December 30th from 2-5pm touring Northeast bars and St. Anthony Main bars before ending on Nicollet Island for the relighting bash.
For more information check out the Grain Belt Beer Facebook page.