Update: The building above, and possibly other portions of the brewery not already demolished in 1996, have now been destroyed sometime in between February 2014 and June 2019, when I returned to the site for a second time. The Adam Gintz House, the residence of the founder of the brewery, has also been callously demolished. See more of the neighborhoods around the brewery’s site in this post from June of 2019.
There’s not much left of the old Stag Brewery in the northwest corner of the historic central area of Belleville. There’s the office building, which looks to be from around the 1940’s, and the warehouse complex below, which provides access to truck and railroad connections. The brewery closed in the 1980’s and was largely demolished in 1996. It was a poor decision.
The demolition is a shame, considering the brewery once dominated the city with its august smokestack and brew house. Originally known as the Western Brewery (not to be confused with the Lemps‘ brewery of the same name in St. Louis) and operated by Adam Gintz, and eventually a branch of the Griesediecks. The beer changed names from “Kaiser” to “Stag” following a competition offered to customers. What I found fascinating is that while the brewery is gone, the working-class neighborhood with its simple but proud housing stock is still standing.
Simple roofs lines with a dormer or two, with some light brick corbeling and a couple of windows are really the only ornaments to these houses. They show that Belleville was an important city in its early days, and not just a suburb of St. Louis. The houses and bar here show how prosperous of a town the brewery helped Belleville become. This is still not a wealthy part of the town, but it is still well-maintained and cared for.