The Storz Brewing legend started in the early 1860s, as the Saratoga Brewery in Saratoga, Nebraska. It was sold in 1863, then again in 1865, becoming the Columbia Brewery.
In 1876, a young German immigrant named Gottlieb Storz moved to Omaha. In 1884, he bought the Columbia Brewery from the previous owner’s widow to run it himself. Seven years later, after moving Storz Brewing Company to Omaha, Gottlieb founded and served as president of the Omaha Brewing Association.
Success followed for Storz Brewing Company, winning medals in 1898 and 1905 at international competitions in Omaha and Portland, respectively. In 1905, with business booming, Gottlieb commissioned a mansion to be built in Omaha. Today, the Storz Mansion is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
On January 16, 1919, Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment, which brought Prohibition to the United States. Storz Brewing Company began producing near beer, ginger ale, soft drinks and ice to help save as many jobs as possible.
After a long wait, Prohibition ended in Nebraska in 1934. Once again, Storz began brewing and was making up to 150,000 barrels of beer a year.
In 1939, Gottlieb Storz suffered a fatal heart attack. The brewery’s founder had passed and the reins of the company went to his son, Adolph Storz, who became president.
With the coming of World War II, the brewery business took off and Storz became Nebraska’s biggest seller.
The family finally sold the brewery and brand name rights to Grain Belt Brewery from Minnesota in 1966. The brewery continued to operate in Omaha until it was closed in 1972.