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The purpose of this site is to share and preserve knowledge regarding the rich history of Wisconsin's brewing legacy.

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Featured Brewery: Falk (1856 - 1892)
WANTED:
Pre 1960's Brewery Items
Cans, Glasses, Signs Trays, Related Artifacts

Buying : Single Items-Collections

 

Please contribute your input:

If you have photo's of old Wisconsin breweries, or your own breweriana that you'd like to share (anonymously if desired) please e-mail a copy to:

 dave@wisconsinbreweriana.com

We're also interested in the content of any old brewery history brochures that you may have to fill in the gaps of our brewery database.

Thanks and enjoy your collecting,

 --Dave

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A Great Name in Wisconsin Brewing History

Today's Falk corporation was acquired in 2005 is now a brand of Rexnord LLC.  Falk's former motto was "A Good Name in Industry". After researching this brewery for years I can't help but conclude that the early brewing industry held the Falk name with similar regard. The Falk family's entrepreneurial, successful beginnings in early Milwaukee brewing history laid the foundation for a repeat success in the creation one of the Nation's top gear manufacturers. Falk maintains small a display of breweriana in it's office these days, in remembrance to its brewing heritage. In 2006 Rexnord celebrated Falk's 150th anniversary. At the company picnic replicas of a pre-prohibition Falk beer glass were produced and given to employees, including fine presentation boxes for each glass. (This glass is common to find today and denoted by the "Rexnord" etched on it's foot). Today not much remains of the brewery, two fires and over 160 years have left little evidence.
Current Status:
Breweriana from this brewery is indeed rare, few examples are known. One of the evaluations of Falk's assets prior to its merger with Pabst indicates about $7000.00 worth of signs, I'm not alone when I wonder what happened to those assets. However on the south fringe of Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley, and the Rexnord Corporation's current site,  stands the remains of the old Falk, Jung and Borchert site. The storage building and a modified portion of the original stables remain. Both continue to stand, but with significant defects such as collapsed roofs. The site most recently supported a upstart Church as part of the Menomonee Valley resurgence, and prior to that a salvage and recycling businesses. One of the last lithographs of the brewery depicts the current building, labeled Storage Vaults. Upon examination you notice an ornate brick frieze and cornice at the top, as well as window placements (most bricked in now), the stone foundation and other visual clues match today's remaining structure. Each window original window arch has it's own keystone. The stables building floor is partially filled in, perhaps up to 3-6ft of fill before the current cement floor was poured, the entries once stood taller, and bricked in arches of ~2ft exist in several places where the walls meet the ground, indicating a lower level, depicted in the old litho's remains buried. It is no coincidence that the largest structure, the vault building has stood the test of time. Rebuilt after an 1889 fire, Falk employed H. C. Koch & Company, the architects of Milwaukee's current city hall. The 146 year old building was designed to be fireproof, and the walls and foundation are enormous, at least three or more feet thick at the base, and approximately 5 stories in height. With cement ceiliings/floors supporting up to 5 stories of flooring in places it reminds one of a cement bunker, yet with cathedral ceilings. Inside the structure one finds a great room (approximately 100ft X 50ft X 70ft), and storage rooms with curved, 20ft high ceilings. A year 2000 aerial photograph also shows the eight round cupolas on top the nearby stables, also depicted in the lithograph. The older pre-1888 design exists in the early lithograph pictured above, but one can also see the same stables that exist today and in last lithograph. This site's age is further confirmed by the 1870 cornerstone in the base of the existing structure. Recent attemps by thieves have been made to revmove the cornerstone. In both lithographs one can clearly see the northward expansion of the operation into the valley, over the Menomonee river towards the current Falk grounds. >>>read the Falk history here>>>

     

Early trade cards document Falk's bottling exports in Denver, Mexico,  New Orleans, San Francisco, St. Louis, and no doubt more locations remain undiscovered.