Grain Belt lovers rejoice, and cheers those gold and red-labeled bottles in the air. It’s a Monday of double news for one of Minnesota’s most legendary beers.
First, the iconic Grain Belt sign that overlooks the Mississippi River on Nicollet Island has officially been purchased by August Shell's Brewing, maker of Grain Belt. Schell's has been working to acquire the land ever since it took over the Grain Belt brand in 2002.
The sign itself was built in 1941. The Nicollet Island parcel where the sign is located had been held by the Eastman family since 1867. The family once owned the majority of Nicollet Island, near St. Anthony Falls, the original settlement site of what later became Minneapolis.
With official ownership, Grain Belt's next step is to relight the 50-by-40 sign, which uses more than 800 feet of neon tubing and has been dark for nearly 20 years. The goal is to have the lights back on before the summer of 2017. They also hope to get it placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
And to toast the good news, there’s a whole new recipe on its way, the new Lock & Dam Lager, described as “a copper lager with a crisp flavor profile.”
The beer is a permanent addition to the lineup, to be issued in 6 and 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles, with 16 oz. cans to come this summer. At 5 percent ABV and with a striking copper and black logo, it’s another lager addition to the brand that features the traditional Premium, Premium Light, and the newer Nordeast amber lager, which debuted in 2010.
The new Lock & Dam hits shelves in early April.