One of the best things in life is a good beer, and thankfully, more and more people are finding out this is true! All over the country microbrews are springing up, bringing a variety of quality and fresh beer to the lips of millions who have maybe only known a few dull, stale beers that have had the flavor beaten out of them by mass production.
Murphysboro has had quite a legacy of brewing. Along with other partners, Rudolph Stecher, a German immigrant from a family of brewers and coopers (makers of barrel or casks used in beer production), purchased a small local brewery in 1886. They renamed it the Murphysboro Brewing Company, which, in 1899, was renamed the Rudolph Stecher Brewing Company when its namesake became sole owner.
By 1910, Stecher Brewing Company produced more than 40,000 barrels of beer a year. (By comparison, in 1901 Anheuser Busch produced a million barrels. Today, they produce almost 160 million barrels worldwide. Sam Adams, the country’s largest craft brewer produces almost 2 million barrels and Schafly in St. Louis produce around 18,000 barrels a year.) However, passage of the Volstead Act in 1919, which ushered in the era of prohibition, began a slow decline to the brewery’s ultimate demise.
Rudolph Stecher died in 1926 and his estate was forced to sell the brewery on the eve of the repeal of prohibition in March 1933. Although various owners tried to keep the company afloat, in 1940 the brewery closed for good.
In 2009, Chuck Stuhrenburg opened Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro, the first production brewery in the town in almost 70 years.
The Friends of Murphysboro decided to celebrate this heritage and the growing craft beer industry with the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest. This is a day for people to come together and be introduced to great craft beer while enjoying the scenery of historic Riverside Park.
Take today to try something different. Be responsible, be safe and have fun.
Get your tickets here.