From the Archives: Cheers for beers!

Everyone loves a good beer now and then, and Omaha’s history is rich in breweries and beer. The “Big Four” breweries in Omaha were Frederick Krug Brewing Co., Storz Brewing Co., Willow Springs Distilling Co. and the Metz Brothers Brewing Co.

Frederick Krug founded his brewery in 1859 in Benson. By 1878, Krug was located between  11th and 12th Streets and Farnam. Krug bought a park in Benson  in the early 1900s, adding a beer garden and amusement rides. Krug Park was highly successful until 1930, when four people were killed on the roller coaster.

Undated photo of the Frederick Krug Brewery in Benson.

The Frederick Krug Brewing Co. at 29th and Vinton on June 22, 1920. THE WORLD-HERALD

1889 Krug Beer ad in The World-Herald. See how good it is for you!


Willow Springs Distilling Co. was brought to Omaha in 1866. It was seized by the government for back revenue taxes in 1869 and sold the same year to James McGrath and Peter Iler. They distilled both beer and spirits.

Willow Spring Distillery in 1875. The man behind the whiskey barrel is Peter Iler, distiller. THE WORLD-HERALD

Willow Springs Brewery in the early 1900s, located at Third and Hickory. They produced Luxus and Stars and Stripes Beer. THE WORLD-HERALD

1910 Willow Springs ad in The World-Herald.


The Metz Brothers Brewing Co. was another early brewery in Nebraska, starting out as the McCumbe Brewery. It was sold several times until the Metz brothers, Frederick and Philip, purchased it in 1861. It was located at 1717 S. Third until they later moved into the Willow Springs building after the distillery relocated to expand.

Undated photo of the Metz Brewing Co. THE WORLD-HERALD

1937 Metz ad in The World-Herald.

1952 Metz ad in The World-Herald. You’ll save money!


The Storz Brewery started out in Saratoga, Neb., as the Saratoga Brewery in the early 1860s. It was sold in 1863, then again in 1865, becoming the Columbia Brewery. A young German immigrant named Gottlieb Storz later worked there, and he purchased the brewery in 1884.

This is the way beer was delivered to thirsty Omahans around the turn of the 20th century. This picture would not be complete without the keg dangling from a “coat hanger” on the side of the wagon. THE WORLD-HERALD

1920 photo of the Storz Brewing Co. THE WORLD-HERALD

1908 ad for Storz Triumph in The World-Herald.

1936 ad for Storz in The World-Herald.


The Falstaff Brewery is still close in many of our hearts. Falstaff leased, than later purchased, Krug in 1935, and the Omaha location at 25th and Vinton became their third plant. They closed in 1985 and the buildings were torn down in 1997.

1942 photo. THE WORLD-HERALD

Falstaff employee Joseph J. Demkowski in 1969. THE WORLD-HERALD

1950 Falstaff ad in The World-Herald.


You used to be able to get your beer delivered in baskets and your spirits in plain cases.

1911 Hiller liquor ad in The World-Herald.


Here area few more random beer ads that have run in The World-Herald throughout the years.

1906 Miller High Life

1933 Blatz

1948 Budweiser

1960 Pabst Blue Ribbon

1914 Schlitz

1948 Hamm’s

1970 Encore (by Schlitz)

1937 Old Milwaukee

1980 Plain Label, or “Beer Beer” to some!


And, if you had a problem with your drinking, there was always this…

Mrs. May Hawkins Marvelous Cure – will save any drunkard!

Hope you found this blog intoxicating!


Jolene McHugh

About Jolene McHugh

I was a graphic artist prior to coming to the Omaha World-Herald in 2007, and now I’m a photo imaging specialist, which means I prepare photos to print properly in the newspaper. I also have the incredibly fun task of restoring old photographs from our massive library. My favorite part of my job is getting lost in the history and stories behind the photographs. Many of the archive photos have little or no information attached, so I need to properly date and identify the people and places in them. Researching the stories is a bit like being on a historical scavenger hunt. The largest challenge I face is restoring photos we run in our books. Our newest book, “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is filled with hundreds of old photographs, and most of them small and in poor condition. I live in Omaha with my husband, one of my daughters and three very furry Maine Coon cats.
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