Editor's note: This series highlights pieces from local antique stores, businesses and collectors. Have a suggestion for a featured item? Email Jasmine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Loveland, owner of Bud’s Barn Antiques in Parkers Prairie, brought in a unique antique to Yesterdays Antique Shop in Alexandria: a 10-gallon barrel from Alexandria Brewing Company.
Loveland estimated the barrel dates back to the end of the prohibition era. He said it was most likely used in the 1930s before the company closed in 1943.
Since beer used to be unpasteurized, Loveland said it would be brewed fresh and consumed not long after. On the colander that once held the tap, an engraved patent number helped Loveland date the barrel because he said they were labeled in a consecutive order.
Loveland said he’s only aware of four or five Alexandria Brewing Company barrels that are still around today.
“It was a typical production item of the day, but not many survived,” he said.
Somebody told Loveland that his price on the barrel was too high, but he said he didn’t think so because of the small number remaining. Although he’s seen barrels from other towns’ local breweries, Loveland said they’ve all been valued at over $300.
In the 26 years that Yesterdays Antique Store has been in business, store manager Ron Moritz said it’s only the second of its kind that they’ve seen. Someone told Moritz that he wishes he would’ve bought one that he saw 20 years ago because he hadn’t seen another since.
“I just think the people love Alexandria stuff, and the history of Alexandria,” Moritz said. “People that collect the brewery stuff and the beverage stuff, especially now with all the wineries and breweries opening up, there’s more interest in them.”
When Copper Trail Brewing Co. opened in 2016, it was the first time in more than 70 years that Alexandria had a brewery.
“It’ll be kinda cool that someday that will be the history,” Moritz said. “Copper Trail will be the history 100 years down the road.”
According to records at Douglas County Historical Society, the last known brewery in this area before Copper Trail was the Alexandria Brewing Company. A timeline of the history of Alexandria breweries, ”A look back at breweries,” is available on the Echo Press website.