Author, Doug Hoverson, will be the featured speaker for this month’s BookEnds series, at 11 a.m., Nov. 9, at Drastic Measures Brewery, in Wadena.

His recently published book, “The Drink that Made Wisconsin Famous”, is a complete illustrated history of brewing and breweries in a state made famous for beer. From the global breweries that developed in Milwaukee in the 1870s, to the “wildcat” breweries of Prohibition and the upstart craft brewers of today, Doug Hoverson tells the stories of Wisconsin’s rich brewing history. In addition to the giants like Miller, Schlitz, and Pabst that loom large in the state’s brewing renown, Hoverson delves into the stories of the hundreds of small breweries started by immigrants and entrepreneurs that delivered Wisconsin’s beer from grain to glass.

His earlier book, “Land of Amber Waters”, told the story of brewing in Minnesota and featured small-town breweries like the one in nearby Perham, where he spoke a number of years ago. The brewery in Perham, owned by Pete Schroeder, was called the Northern Pacific Brewery. It was located on the banks of the Ottertail River. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was a major supplier of beer. Barrels from Perham were carried by the railroad all the way to the west coast.

BookEnds programs are free and open to the public. They are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts County thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. For more information please call the Wadena County Historical Society. 218 631-9079 or email

Wadena's brewery past

Wadena’s first Brewery was built by George Carl and Theodore Roller in 1881. Ownership passed to Paul Wermerskirchen in 1882.

In 1884, Annie E. and Henry Ebner bought the building and remodeled it.

In 1898, the Wadena Brewery was bought by Julius Miller who increased the plant capacity and raised the price from $6 to $7.50 a barrel.

The final owner of the brewery was John Ehlen who purchased it for $12,000. He operated the brewery from 1900 until 1914 when the plant was closed as prohibition came early to parts of Minnesota. The building burnt in 1938. It had been located at 600 5th Street SE, near Wadena Ready Mix and Union Creek.