The Mantorville Brewing Company was incorporated in 1996 by a group of six homebrewers from Mantorville, Minnesota. Built in the shadows of Mantorville’s historic Dodge County Brewery, our little brewery, today known as Stagecoach Brewing Company, carries on the legacy of its local brewing predecessors.
Mantorville’s first brewery - the Dodge County Brewery - was founded in May 1857, when local Swiss immigrant, John Hirschi started a small operation in downtown. The following year, Charles Ginsberg and his brother-in-law, Henry Naegli, purchased the brewery and over the next five years, Ginsberg and Naegli built a three-story brewery in the bluff across the creek from the original brewery. Later, the creek was dubbed Brewery Creek.
Like many of the pioneer breweries of Bluff Country (an area including southeastern Minnesota, northern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin), the Dodge County Brewery served the local immigrant farmers in the area. In addition to producing several styles of beer, including Prima, Man’s Beer, New Style Lager Beer, Mantorville’s “Genuine Keg Beer” and a fifth nameless beer, the brewery housed one of Minnesota’s first beer halls, which was used for dancing, celebrations and other purposes.
Following several tragedies, including the death of Charles Ginsberg, the brewery changed ownership in 1878 to Anna Ginsberg, Charles’s wife, and later to Anna’s brother Henry Naegli. The brewery continued successfully under a series of owners up until Prohibition in 1919. During Prohibition, the brewery saw a brief stint as a creamery and soda pop factory. However, records show that the brewery may not have been idle in its beer production during the “dry years.” One story in the Dodge County Express shared the shocking, albeit sad news that workers converting the space into a creamery accidentally punctured a vat of "strong beer." Three hundred gallons of beer were lost to the sewer that day.
Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, the brewery reopened under a new owner and name - Otto’s Brewery. Within six years, and after several changes of ownership, the brewery officially closed its doors in 1939. In April 1942, much of the brewery was torn down, and the brew kettle was scrapped for the war effort. Ruins of the brewery and its lager caves still exist today.
In the summer of 1996, six local homebrewers came together to reopen the Mantorville Brewing Company on the original site of Mantorville's first brewery. Later that year, they introduced Stagecoach Amber Ale, named for the famous Stagecoach Saloon, located in the town's historic Hubbell House.
In 1999, Tod Fyten became a partner in the brewery, and in 2002, he purchased the brewery from the remaining partners. To further celebrate and pay homage to the Stagecoach Saloon and the stagecoach line that ran through Mantorville in the 1800s, the brewery began doing business as Stagecoach Brewing Company.
In 2007, the brewery expanded its draft production and celebrated the 10th anniversary of its inaugural brew, with the introduction of Stagecoach Amber Ale in six-packs.
If you would like to learn more about Mantorville or its early pioneer breweries, visit Dodge County's Historical Society.