Duluth Brewing History
Uncovering Duluth’s Storied Peoples Brewing Co.
By Melissa Maki
Reposted with permission from Growler Magazine
Peoples Brewing Company of Duluth was ahead of its time. Founded on socialist principles in 1907 by Martin Smith, F.G. Sandstedt, and Michael J. Gleeson, the brewery stood up to big beer long before it was hip to do so.
At that time, Duluth had two other breweries, Fitger’s Brewery (unaffiliated with Fitger’s Brewhouse) and Duluth Brewing and Malting Company, but heavyweights from the Twin Cities and Wisconsin—such as Pabst and Miller—had a strong foothold in the Duluth–Superior market, according to author and beer historian Doug Hoverson.
Hoverson says that Peoples Brewing Company was one of a number of breweries around the country in the early 1900s operating on the fringe of socialism. “They were not all necessarily socialist politically, but they were out to try to break the monopoly of big brewers,” Hoverson explains. Producing better beer and getting a cheaper beer supply may have been part of the plan, but the central idea was to control profits—and to keep the resulting revenue local.
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