Former Leinenkugel president dies at age 87

A torrential downpour isn't usually considered prime brew-sipping weather unless you are a cooped-up alcoholic, but make a toast to this guy tonight. Bill Leinenkugel, who expanded the markets of the Chippewa Falls brewery his family founded in 1867, died Monday after a struggle with cancer, his family said today. He was 87.

More from the Associated Press story:

Leinenkugel took over Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. as president in 1971. He expanded its market to the Twin Cities and Chicago during an era when other small breweries were closing under pressure from major brewers such as Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. and Miller Brewing Co. The Leinie Lodge, a tour center and hospitality stop in Chippewa Falls, was his idea.

"I'm just a beer salesman who had a good product to sell," Leinenkugel recently told The Chippewa Herald in describing his 39-year career with the company his great-grandfather Jacob Leinenkugel founded.

The brewery - the oldest business in Chippewa Falls - merged with Milwaukee's Miller Brewing in 1988, a year after Leinenkugel retired. It is now a staple for SABMiller's U.S. unit, which is now part of MillerCoors, a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Co.

Thanks for bringing honeyweiss to Minneapolis!

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