Brewery plans to buy, relight Grain Belt Beer sign

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November 12, 2014 // UPDATED 1:11 pm – November 17, 2014
By: Eric Best
Eric Best

August Schell Brewing Company announced it has reached a purchase agreement today to buy the iconic Grain Belt Beer sign.

The Minnesota-based brewers of Grain Belt beer plan to buy the landmark and the land around it on Nicollet Island with the hopes to relight and preserve it with the help of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

“As the stewards to a 154-year old brewery and family business, we understand the importance of preserving heritage. We are honored to have this opportunity to protect and restore such a beloved part of the Minneapolis landscape,” said Ted Marti, president and fifth-generation descendant of brewery founder, August Schell, in a release. “Working in concert with the community, our goal is to preserve and relight this important remnant of the city’s industrial and commercial past.”

The historic sign, constructed in 1940 and lit in 1976, has been dark since Grain Belt’s owner went bankrupt in 1996.

Early estimates projected that fixing the sign would cost about $250,000 and maintenance and property taxes would cost about $500 per month.

The company expects more details regarding if it will be able to relight the sign and close the purchase of the sign and land later this year, after discussions with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Schell’s, which acquired the Grain Belt brand in 2002, is the state’s largest and oldest brewery.

“This historic sign is a unique resource and a valuable part of the city’s character,” said Doug Gasek, executive director of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, in a release. “We’re looking forward to working with the August Schell Brewing Company to rehabilitate and relight this prominent riverfront landmark, making it accessible for future generations to enjoy.”