The Stahlmann family founded the first brewery in a natural cave on the site in 1855 as the Cave Brewery. The site was used for multiple businesses before becoming the Schmidt Brewery. Jacob Schmidt, a successful St. Paul brewer, purchased the site in January 1901 and hired Chicago architect Bernard Barthel to construct his ambitious vision of a “Gothic-influenced” building with “several outbuildings.” Later that year the brewery was incorporated as the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and a new plant and malt house were erected next to the existing structures.

A few fun facts:

  • Jacob Schmidt previously worked as Hamm Brewery’s master brewer before founding Schmidt.
  • The brewery produced a non-alcoholic beverage during the Prohibition era that was called Malta. It also produced non-alcoholic beer and rumor has it the Schmidt brewers may have secretly brewed real beer during that same period.
  • The heir to the Schmidt fortune, Edward Bremer Jr., was kidnapped in 1934 for a ransom of $200,000 due to the company’s success.
  • The brewery was contracted to provide beer to the troops during WWII because the Bremers were friends with FDR.
  • The complex operated as a brewery under various owners until 2002.
  • In 2012, Dominium began renovating the vacant bottling department building into what would become the Schmidt Artist Lofts. The iconic Schmidt’s sign was relit on June 21, 2014.
History exterior1

Fast forward to the “Keg and Case era:” In 2014, Craig Cohen, a man with a love of the neighborhood and a deep interest in the history of the site embraced his entrepreneurial spirit and with the help of close friends purchased the outbuilding known as the Keg and Case. This structure was utilized as storage for the beer Schmidt produced prior to its distribution via train cars. Railroad tracks still run through the floor of the building. With the idea to preserve as much as possible while building on the past, Cohen began to create a new option for food-focused entrepreneurs to set up shop and reach customers.

“First and foremost, the neighborhood matters. I saw an opportunity and set about bringing together a team to curate offerings in a way that was consistent with the energy, art, community and fiber of the surrounding area,” Cohen says. “The Keg and Case building lends itself naturally to this use, which then in turn can really anchor the neighborhood. We look forward to fostering a space and a culture that will allow a diverse group of vendors and visitors to joyfully co-exist.”

History interior

The iconic building boasts 33,000 square feet of commercial space that has been rebuilt for its new purpose as the Keg and Case West 7th Market. Glass panes have replaced bricked-over windows, a mezzanine has been installed, and all plumbing and mechanicals have been completely updated. With 80 metered parking spots and an outdoor event space operating in tandem with the indoor market and restaurants, the project will anchor the vibrant West 7th neighborhood, drawing visitors from both near and far for fun year-round.

The Keg and Case West 7th Market opened in September 2018.

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