From the Collections—Hand-crafted Brew Kettle, ca. 1840

13, January 2010

One of St. Louis’s early beer brewers, J. Adam Lemp was the first to produce lager west of Philadelphia. In 1840, he established the Western Brewery at 37 South Second Street, between Walnut and Elm. A unique type of yeast imported from Germany allowed brewers to make a beer that was more stable and lighter than the English-style ales and beer prevalent at that time.

This handmade brew kettle is composed of copper and stands 50 inches tall. It is believed to be Lemp’s original kettle, used in the production of nearly 100 barrels of beer per year. By the 1870s this brew kettle was a quaint antique, dwarfed by models that produced 700 times more than Lemp’s initial output. Members of the Retirees Club of Sheet Metal Workers, Local 36, volunteered their time to refurbish the kettle for exhibit in the Currents gallery at the Missouri History Museum.