1858 – Heileman Brewery Founded

On this day, one of Wisconsin’s best-known breweries was established by John Gund and Gottlieb Heileman (1824-1878). By the time Gund retired in 1872, the firm’s annual beer production had increased from 500 barrels in 1860 to 3,000. By the turn of the century, it had become one of the city’s largest manufacturing concerns, and throughout the 20th century its storage tanks () were a LaCrosse landmark. At its peak, Heileman’s annual sales of 7.5 million barrels brought in $900 million,¬†making it a target for purchase by a series¬†outside investors whose management eventually forced it into bankruptcy in 1991. The brewery officially closed in 1999, throwing more than 500 workers out of work. Today the former Heileman Brewery is home to City Brewing Co., which manufactures and packages beers, teas, soft drinks, energy drinks and other new age beverages. Its packaging capacity of over 50 million cases makes the LaCrosse firm one of the largest beverage producers in the country. [Sources: (Chicago, 1881); ; , Nov. 2, 1993; , March 4, 1996; , Aug. 16, 1999]