Old Gipfel gets a new lease on life

City's oldest brewery structure is hoisted and moved a block

Gipfel Brewery featured in Journal Sentinel

“Before Pabst, Miller or Blatz, there was Gipfel.

The little brewery founded by brothers David and Carl Gipfel began rolling out barrels some 20 years before other beers made Milwaukee famous.

The Gipfel brewery ceased operations in the 1890s, but the building has remained near W. Juneau Ave. and N. 4th St. ever since.

It is the oldest known brewery structure still standing in Milwaukee.

On Sunday, crews aiming to salvage the Gipfel brewery uprooted what remains of the dilapidated building and hauled it to a new home about a block away.

The delicate process of moving a 300-ton building closed streets and disrupted downtown traffic for several hours.

But it was worth the effort for developer Rob Ruvin, who plans to restore the old brewery as part of a hotel and restaurant development.

“It’s gratifying to save a piece of history,” the 39-year-old developer said while watching crews slowly transport the three-story building east along Juneau Ave.

The entire move was only a few hundred feet, but it cleared an important area of real estate adjacent to the Bradley Center…”