Linking modern-day St. Louis to the region's brewing heritage has become a priority for the St. Louis Brewers Guild. Plans are in the very early stages, but the organization is trying to launch a museum to highlight the connection between the city and breweries.
"The logical big-picture idea is to have a brick and mortar that functions as basically a welcome center for the entire brewing industry," Guild Executive Director Troika Brodsky told St. Louis Public Radio.
"The main feature of it would be a large-scale museum on the history of brewing in St. Louis."
He has not decided if the project should start off small and grow into a larger venue, or go big right out of the gate. If the nonprofit begins with a smaller venue, it could be open early next year. It would be at least a couple of years to launch in a larger space.
Along with telling the story of beer in St. Louis, the aim would be to help boost tourism and educate people who might only be familiar with larger operations that pumped out beer in the region like Falstaff and Anheuser-Busch.
"There was so much more," Brodsky said.
“Some of them were breweries much larger than even Schlafly and Urban Chestnut today. There's a lot that exists from these breweries, even if the breweries themselves, in most cases, are no longer there."
And that's where term, "breweriana" comes in. It's the word collectors use for old bottles, signs and other items linked to the history of the beer industry.
"There's a very large collecting community around here,” Brodsky said.
"There are beautiful examples that tell the story of our city's history widely available. And to be able to collect them all into one place and be able to see that altogether and learn more would be something of great value to our city."
He has discussed some plans with some large local collectors and the corporate archivists at Anheuser-Busch. But there are still more pressing issues to workout such as location, fundraising and size.
"But for all the folks I've spoken with about the idea, I’ve received nothing but enthusiasm," Troika said.
"So, we know we're on the right path."
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