Malt Kilns, Lemp Brewery

Update: Unfortunately, the decision was finally made to deconstruct the eastern upper three stories for safety and structural reasons in 2023.

The historic malt kilns at the Lemp Brewery have been stabilized after the unfortunate collapse of the western third (spare me your armchair engineering expertise–unless you have an actual B.S. or advanced degree in structural engineering, I don’t care), and as far as I know, the City of St. Louis will not order the demolition of the rest of the building.

The malt kilns were built in two building campaigns: in the 1870s, when there were three, three story kilns built, and then in the late 1880s when the two outer kilns were expanded to six stories and the central kiln was converted into service areas for the flanking ones.

The lower three stories constitute some of the oldest brewing fabric in the City of St. Louis above ground. The cellars under the brew house are older, from the 1860s, but the brew house replaced in the 1880s.

It must have been quite the sight when they were operational, with giant perforated steel racks on the different floors, where the malt was dried out and giant fires at the base. The steel smokestacks were removed long ago.

I do miss being able to walk along the base of the malt kilns and feel the cold air coming up out of the grates from the lagering cellars down below.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. ROBERT FOOTE says:


    Thank you for continuing to post about the brewery. Are you aware of any articles that discuss the stabilization that you reference? If not, can you share any details about the particular measures that were taken? Given the parties involved with this matter, I think a healthy bit of skepticism is warranted. While one may lament not being able to feel cool air eminating from grating, I think folks visiting the area may be more concerned about not being able to walk within 40 feet of the building without wondering if another section may rain down upon them at any instant (though I’m sure the robust/charming chain-link fence provides some comfort). Aside from the safety concerns, if I lived or had a business in the neighborhood, I’d be annoyed that I continue to be visually assaulted by the pile of rubble that still exists (existed?) two years after the collapse.

  2. cnaffziger says:

    I think public safety concerns are completely valid! I can ask about the current status of the malt kilns and see when they will be rebuilt.

  3. Sasquatch says:

    At the risk of sounding like an armchair engineer: the apparent general lack of maintenance at this site is truly heartbreaking. It’s been a couple years now and, as of the last I saw it in person, this was still essentially the exact same pile of rubble it had been the day it collapsed.

    “St. Louis Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said that Building No. 20 had been condemned in 2013 due to the need to “replace defective roof covering” and other issues. He said the owners never submitted repair plans with his office.”

    “And using the building for any purpose is illegal because no occupancy permit was obtained, Oswald said.”

    “BWorks was storing about 700 bicycles and was the only tenant of the building, said Patrick Van Der Tuin, BWorks’ executive director.
    But the organization had no idea that the collapsed property actually had been condemned seven years ago.”

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