Warsaw Brewery | Warsaw, IL
Founded by German immigrants, the Warsaw Brewery opened in 1861 and operated for more than 100 years, ending production in 1971. The facility was renovated and reopened in 2006 as a bar and restaurant.
Situated at the top of a slope rising a hundred yards or so above the Mississippi River on the north edge of Warsaw, stands the venerable Warsaw brewery. It was established in 1860 by Rudolph Guller.
Upon his death, the enterprise was taken over by his son, John H. Guller, and was incorporated as Popel & Guller Company.
The prohibition era, beginning in 1920 with a law that forbade for nearly a decade of production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the U.S., terminated beer-making at the brewery.
A relatively recent re-discovery of a long-forgotten brick and stone tunnel that leads from the present location down to near the river, has fueled speculation that it was used as a conduit to transport bootleg beer up and down the river. Storage caves used to keep beer cool also were discovered.
In 1933, after prohibition, the property was acquired by interested parties who re-established a brewery enterprise that operated for nearly forty years under the corporate name of the Warsaw Brewing Company, which produced Burgemeister, Old Tavern, Warsaw Special and Varsity Club beers.
In 1972, the brewery closed operations and sat vacant until 1992, when Jay and Pam Melvin purchased the complex and began its restoration into a bar, full-service restaurant and reception hall that opened for business in 2003.
However, the difficult economy of 2008 forced them to close it, and again the iconic complex sat vacant, and regrettably, the Melvins contemplated tearing it down./div> But, then in the nick of time, their son Randy Crowley (a cabinet maker by trade) and partner Seth Felgar came up with ambitious plans to reopen the brewery as a bar and reception hall once again, thereby saving it from the wrecking ball./div>
Today the Brewery operates as a seasonal restaurant from April - November, and features a large selection of beers, and a wide variety of meals. The Brewery is accessible by a dock on the Mississippi River for those enjoying the River.