Dakota Datebook

Milwaukee Brewery Company

Sunday, November 2, 2008


In the years following the Civil War, business at Frederick Miller’s brewery in Wisconsin was booming. Looking to expand his operations and tap into western markets, Miller began construction of a brewery in Dakota Territory.

Built on the banks of the Missouri River near Bismarck, the Milwaukee Brewery was completed in 1885. Among its customers was the Marquis de Mores. But faced with poor management and bad water, it was soon apparent the brewery couldn’t last. Local prohibition laws passed in 70% of the territorial counties after 1887 further contributed to the decline.

The final blow came two years later. Shortly after North Dakota entered the union on this day in 1889, the legislature approved a statewide prohibition law. Devastated, the Millers immediately shuttered the buildings and transported the equipment back to Wisconsin. Having lost more than $200,000, Miller Brewery sold the Dakota property in 1900.

Gerhardt, Tom. “Bismarck Brewery.” no. KXNet.com (October 6, 2008). http://www.kxmb.com/Sports/Outdoors/282903.asp.
John, Tim. The Miller Beer Barons: The Frederick J. Miller Family and Its Brewery. Oregon, WI: Badger Books Inc., 2005.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

« Go Back

Award-winning radio, television, and public media services that educate, involve, and inspire the people of the prairie region.

Donate Now

Breaking News

Follow Us On Social Media