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The Anchor of a Community: The Closing of the Potosi Brewing Company and the Town It Left Behind.

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Honer, Matthew J.
Oberly, James Warren, 1954-
May 20, 2010
Potosi Brewing Company (Wis.)--History; Brewing industry--Wisconsin--Potosi--History; Plant shutdowns--Wisconsin--Economic aspects; Plant shutdowns--Wisconsin--Potosi; Potosi (Wis.)--Commerce--History
This paper will look at the brewing industry by analyzing a small brewery in rural southwest Wisconsin that tells the story of a once prosperous local brewery that eventually could not compete. The Potosi Brewing Company closed its doors in 1972 after 120 years of brewing, leaving behind another empty brewery and a local community without an industry that provided so much to its identity. In this paper I will look at the reasons why it closed and whether it can be explained by external factors such as competition or internal factors such as equipment failure and family pressures, or a combination of both. I will look at the records of the Potosi Brewery that are held by the archives at the University of Wisconsin--Platteville to tell the story of the Potosi Brewing Co. I will also use correspondence with a member of the community of Potosi to explain how the closing of the brewery affected the community. Several secondary sources will be utilized to help explain the larger trends of the American brewing industry, from its early days up until 1975. The study of the Potosi Brewing Co will shed new light on the history of American beer and brewing from the viewpoint of small brewery and the community that supported it.
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