Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Hastings Brewing Company

I was in Hastings this past weekend for a wedding, so I allowed myself a little extra time to do some exploring. With a little preliminary research, I was able to locate the address of the former Hastings Brewing Co. building. Much to my surprise and delight, it's
largely intact!

Hastings had a brewery as early as 1878 and the Hastings Brewing Co. came to be in 1908. The brewery building itself was constructed in 1906. An Italianate style architectural influence can be seen in the arched windows and decorative brickwork.

After prohibition forced the brewery to close in 1917, the Kauf and Rinderspacker meat packing company used the building. The economic woes of the Depression caused Kauf and Rinderspacker to go out of business, leaving the former brewery building to be converted into the Hastings Cold Storage Company. I'm unsure of when the Cold Storage Company closed.

According to a 1999 study commissioned by the Nebraska State Historical Society, the brewery building is historically significant and eligible to be placed on the National Historic Register. I'm not sure that much has come of this designation, however.

Another rare aspect of the Hastings Brewing Co. plant is that the original brewery office building is still intact as well.

The brewery office in relation to the actual brewery.

A look down the alley behind the brewery reveals an abandoned rail line. Perhaps this was used for the shipping and receiving of ingredients, spent grains, and possibly even the beer itself in short distances.

Overall, what an exciting find! I only hope that the locals will take the historical designation of this building seriously and begin a movement to have the brewery and its office building preserved. For a historical photo of the brewery, click here and let the photo slideshow cycle through - there is a picture of the brewery in there!

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