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August Schell
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Birth: Feb. 15, 1828
Baden-Baden, Germany
Death: Sep. 20, 1891

Started Schell's Brewery in 1860 in New Ulm, MN

From the Schells Brewery site...

August Schell
August Schell was born in 1828 in Durbach, Germany, located in the heart of the famous German "Schwarzwald," otherwise known as the Black Forest region. August received an early education as a machinist/engineer but after a short time, became intrigued by the opportunities overseas. In 1848, August bid farewell to his mother and father, leaving his homeland in search of success in the United States.

August arrived in New Orleans and continued up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Cincinnati where he worked as a machinist in a locomotive factory. It was here that he met the love of his life, Theresa Hermann. Theresa, also a German immigrant, and August wed in 1853.

In 1856, August, Theresa and their two baby daughters headed to Minnesota along with a group of fellow Germans known as the Cincinnati Turner Society. The Turner Society had heard from a group of German settlers in Southern Minnesota that their settlement was struggling to succeed. The two groups merged and formed the town of New Ulm.

Once in New Ulm, August found a job as a machinist in a flour mill. But as the years passed, August realized that good German beer was difficult to find in such a small, rural area. In the fall of 1860, August partnered up with Jacob Bernhardt, a former brewmaster at the Benzberg Brewery in St. Paul, MN (what today was known as the Minnesota Brewing Company). They erected a small brewery just two miles from town along the banks of the Cottonwood River. During their first year of operation they produced 200 barrels of beer, a very small amount based on today's standards.

The location of the brewery was ideal. Aside from the beauty of its natural surroundings (August was especially fond of his hikes into the woods), the brewery was located next to an artesian spring, providing exceptionally pure water for brewing. Its proximity to the Cottonwood River gave the brewery a means of transporting beer and supplies, and the river also became essential to the refrigeration process. Each winter, large blocks of ice would be harvested and hauled up the hill where they would be stored in underground caves. The ice would keep the caves cool throughout the spring and early summer in order to allow proper aging and fermentation of the beer.

But along with the rewards also came the risks. New Ulm, as many settlers back then realized, was located in the heart of Dakota Indian country. In the early days of the brewery, many of the Dakota Sioux Tribe visited the brewery where Mrs. Schell often provided them with food. This goodwill proved to be a blessing for the brewery. In 1862, southern Minnesota was the focal point of the "Sioux Uprising," otherwise known as the "Dakota Conflict." While buildings were burned and ransacked in New Ulm and other towns in the region, the brewery remained untouched due to the kindness of the Schell family.

In 1866, Jacob Bernhardt became ill and decided to sell his share of the brewery. In order to command as high a price as possible August agreed to place the entire brewery up for sale to the highest bidder. August's bid of $12,000 won out and he became the sole owner of the business.

The early years were good for the Schell family. August and Theresa raised six children: two sons; Adolph and Otto; and four daughters; Emma, Emelia, Anna and Augusta. The brewery flourished as additions were built to the existing brewery, many of which continue to grace the brewery grounds, a testament to the enduring legacy of Schell.

At the age of 50, August became stricken with severe arthritis which greatly affected his activities within the brewery. While still maintaining an executive role with the brewery, August handed over the management responsibilities to his eldest son Adolph and the brewing responsibilities to his youngest son Otto, who studied brewing in Germany. Soon after, Adolph moved his family to California leaving Otto and his brother-in-law George Marti to run the brewery.

In 1885, August and Theresa built the exquisite Schell Mansion on the brewery grounds, complete with formal gardens and deer park, all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. As August's arthritis worsened, he would enjoy spending his days in the solitude of the gardens watching the constant hum and activity at the brewery.

August died on September 20, 1891 at the age of 63, leaving the brewery to Theresa with Otto as manager. While the brewery mourned the loss of its founder, Otto became its driving force. In 1902 the brewery was incorporated and Otto was elected president, his mother Theresa was elected vice-president, and his brother-in-law George became secretary-treasurer.

Otto and his wife Adelia became a very prominent couple in the New Ulm community, active in many social, civic and financial endeavors. But once again fate dealt the Schell family a cruel hand. Otto's sudden death on January 14, 1911 stunned the community and struck a terrible blow to the family. Theresa, in her grief, would die just four months later on May 21, 1911.

George Marti, husband to Emma (August and Theresa's daughter) was handed the reins of the company. Though the name associated with management changed at that time, it was and is still kept totally within the confines of the Schell family and its descendants. With George's guidance, Schell's Brewery would continue to build on its legacy of making beer with substance

Prosperity soon met its fate with the start of Prohibition in 1919. Just prior to Prohibition, there were over 1900 breweries in the country. By the time it was repealed 14 years later, only 600 breweries remained. August Schell Brewery was among the fortunate. During Prohibition, the brewery shifted gears, producing "near beer," assorted soft drinks, and candy, all of which helped keep the machinery running and the transition back to brewing beer that much easier.

George passed away in 1934 and his wife Emma became president. Soon after, the brewery management was passed on to his son, Alfred Marti. Al was known as the fun-loving sort who enjoyed music almost as much as the beer he brewed. This was evident in the musicians he gathered together and sponsored, a group fondly known as the Schell's Hobo Band. Known for their circus-style music as well as their antics, the band has become famous across the region and still entertain young and old to this day.

Al retired in 1969 and was succeeded by his son, Warren Marti. Warren was the "Jack of all Trades;" World War II veteran, teacher, bookkeeper, salesman, gardener, brewmaster and father. Similar to the family that preceded him, Warren was dedicated to the brewery and the community that surrounded it. Under his leadership, Schell's introduced new styles of beer into the market including Schell's Export and Schell's Light. But Warren also saw beyond beer and tapped into the soft drink market with a cooperative venture to produce 1919 Root Beer with Arneson Distributing of Sleepy Eye, MN. 1919 is a continued favorite to this day.

Warren's era also saw the introduction of the beer can, and many still remember Schell's for the award-winning, scenic designs that graced many of their cans. By the time Warren retired in 1985, Schell's brewery was experiencing unprecedented success. So called "mega-breweries" were dominating the beer industry and many of the smaller, regional breweries were beginning to disappear, but Warren's persistence kept Schell's thriving and ready for the entrepreneurial spirit of his son Ted.

Ted Marti took the helm at Schell's in 1985, and similar to his father, had spent most of his upbringing around the brewery. His education was extensive, including studies at the Siebel's Institute of Brewing in Chicago, as well as several breweries in Germany.

Ted decided to take Schell's to a new level by introducing their own line of "specialty" beers. Schell's hit the ground running with styles ranging from Alt to Pilsner and Pale Ale to Weizen, and it wasn't long before a number of these exceptional beers became medal winners.

Ted's reputation as an accomplished brewmaster grew within the industry, and along with that growth came an increase in the number of contract beers Schell's produced. During this time period, the brewery made 38 different beers, 16 of which were contracted lines sold under different names.

In 1999, the brewery invested in their growth by adding a new state-of-the-art brewhouse. With four, imported, stainless steel kettles, each operating a different stage of the brewing process, Schell's improved their efficiency and quality.

In 2002, Schell's acquired 109 year-old Grain Belt beer, in effect saving this legendary Minnesota beer from extinction. With the addition of Grain Belt, Schell's became the largest brewery in terms of gallonage in Minnesota and remains the oldest brewery in Minnesota. And while 140 years have slipped by since the first barrel of beer rolled off the docks at Schell's, one thing hasn't changed—the family's passion for brewing beers with substance.

Family links: 
  Theresa Hermann Schell (1829 - 1911)*
  Emma Schell Marti (1856 - 1940)*
  Adolph Schell (1858 - 1938)*
  Anna Schell (1860 - 1870)*
  Otto Schell (1862 - 1911)*
  Augusta Schell Yoerg (1864 - 1937)*
*Calculated relationship
New Ulm City Cemetery
New Ulm
Brown County
Minnesota, USA
Plot: Pioneer Section
Created by: S Hemingway
Record added: Oct 11, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 30497519
August Schell
Added by: S Hemingway
August Schell
Added by: LCM
August Schell
Added by: S Hemingway
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Click on image for full size. memory of August Schell & the Schells Brewery
- S Hemingway
 Added: Jan. 3, 2013

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