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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tap Handle #242: Schell's - Oktoberfest

What a beautiful tap! I had really wanted this tap and jumped on the chance to get one at a good price. There's lots of great detail, from the bricks on the side to the tiny deer on top. The only difference among varieties is the label.

August Schell was born in 1828 in Durbach, Germany. 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 made his way to Cincinnati where he worked as a machinist in a locomotive factory. In 1856, August and his wife and children headed to Minnesota in New Ulm. August found a job as a machinist in a flour mill, but in 1860, August partnered up with Jacob Bernhardt, and they erected a small brewery.

In 1866, Bernhardt became ill and decided to sell his share of the brewery, which August purchased. The brewery flourished as August made numerous additions. At the age of 50, August became stricken with severe arthritis which greatly affected his activities within the brewery. Management responsibilities fell to his youngest son Otto, who studied brewing in Germany, and August died in 1891. In 1902 the brewery was incorporated and Otto was elected president, his mother Theresa was elected vice-president, and his brother-in-law George Marti became secretary-treasurer. Otto’s sudden death in 1911 resulted in Marti being handed the reins of the company.

During Prohibition, the brewery shifted gears, producing "near beer," assorted soft drinks, and candy. 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 retired in 1969 and was succeeded by his son, Warren Marti. By the time Warren retired in 1985, Schell's brewery was experiencing unprecedented success and was ready for the entrepreneurial spirit of his son Ted. Ted's 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, with styles ranging from Alt to Pilsner and Pale Ale to Weizen, and 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. In 2002, Schell's acquired 109 year-old Grain Belt beer. Today Schell is the second oldest family-owned brewery in America.

Oktoberfest is a seasonal Oktoberfest/Marzen that uses a perfect balance of caramel, pale, cara-pils and black malts. It won a silver medal at both the 1991 and 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Weighted average on is 3.19 out of 5.

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