On the shores of Lake Superior in historic Duluth, Minnesota is where it all began back in 1857 when entrepreneur Sidney Luce began producing a superior beer brand utilizing water from a small, clear brook and operating just a block and a half from where the present facility now stands. As the venture grew, Luce sold the operation to Michael Fink in 1881, who then built a larger facility on Superior Street (where Fitger’s currently operates) to accommodate an increase in product demand. The new Lake Superior Brewery was completed in 1882 and included administrative offices and a bar called the Brewery Saloon. As business continued to boom, Fink hired August Fitger, a German brewmaster and graduate of Munich’s prestigious Weihenstephan Brewing School, in late 1882. Within a year, Fitger and business partner Percy Anneke had purchased the brewery and renamed the establishment A. Fitger & Company/Lake Superior Brewery.
Prohibition in the 1920’s curtailed the brewery’s production of beer, but the facility still produced other items such as five-cent candies, cigars, a champagne-like drink called Silver Spray (which spawned a boxing gym of the same name) and a soft drink line featuring a wide array of unique flavor combinations. The company was one of the first breweries in history to begin the distribution of bottled, carbonated soft drinks. These side ventures managed to keep A. Fitger & Company operational and profitable throughout those lean years.
Upon the repeal of Prohibition, beer production surged in conjunction with rapid-fire sales, the increase in Fitger’s brand popularity, and innovative marketing techniques. It was the first brewery in the Midwest to market canned beer. By the end of World War II, Fitger’s would change hands once again as the Beerhalter family assumed ownership in 1944 and operated the brewery for the next quarter of a century, but by the fall of 1972, Fitger’s 115 years of beer making would come to an end.
In December of 1984, after years and years of planning, Fitger’s reopened with many improvements made to the establishment. These additions consisted of a 48-room hotel, two full-service restaurants, day spa and a retail center. Eleven years later, the Fitger’s Brewery Complex was again reinvigorated in 1995 with the energy of new proprietorship consisting of a distinguished group of Duluth, Minnesota business owners.
Today, Fitger’s thrives with the full-service microbrewery called “The Brew House”, three restaurants, two nightclubs, specialty stores, banquet facilities, and the picturesque Lakewalk Access. Today Fitgers on the Lake, Duluth’s award winning 80 room hotel and suites, continue to overlook majestic Lake Superior. An historic Duluth landmark, Fitger’s has become a hotspot and tourist destination, as well as an area treasure.
And NOW…. COFFEE!
In 2007 Fitger’s introduced a collection of delicious gourmet coffees for their hotel guests to enjoy at the continental breakfast. This broad range of delicious coffees quickly gained acceptance and approval beyond the hotel. As word spread, Fitger’s Coffees began landing on store shelves , in restaurants and cafes nation wide, as well as one of the best kept secrets… Fitger’s on the Lake in Duluth, Minnesota!