Monday, November 2, 2015

The Winnebago County Breweries of 1870

The Brewers Association reports that there are currently more than 4,000 American breweries in operation. It's the highest brewery count since the 1870s. Those peak years were in evidence here in Winnebago County as well.

In 1870, Winnebago County was home to 11 breweries, the most in operation in the county at any one time. Oshkosh led the way with six breweries, while Menasha had two. Butte des Morts, Neenah, and Winneconne each had a single brewery.

Let's put that in perspective. In 1870, Winnebago County's population was 37,279. That equates to one brewery for every 3,389 people. As of the 2010 census, the population of Winnebago County is 166,994. But today we have just two breweries. When Lion's Tale Brewing opens in Neenah this month we'll have a third. That'll give us one brewery for every 55,665 people.

Here's another way to look at it. If today we had as many breweries per capita as the Winnebago County of 1870, there would be 49 breweries in this county. We have some catching up to do.

Here's an interactive map showing the locations of those 1870 breweries. Click the red balloons for more information about the brewery locations shown here. To open the map in a separate window, follow this link.

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