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Schmidt Brewery will cease dispensing free spring water.

Schmidt Brewery will cease dispensing free spring water

Taps at the Schmidt Brewery that have dispensed free spring water to the public since 1983 will be turned off sometime after the planned July 3 plant closing.

Each month, thousands of people wait in line to fill their glass jugs or plastic bottles. They take away a combined average of 79,000 gallons each month. The brewery estimates it gives away 955,000 gallons of spring water each year.

The brewery would like to keep up the practice, said Heileman spokesman Wes Cotter. But the pumps and pipes that draw the water from the spring are too closely intertwined with the rest of the machinery at the brewery.

"You have to pretty much keep the whole operation running," he said. "It's not like a water spring that runs on a public tap."

According to a sign posted on a brick wall above the taps, the spring is 1,100 feet below. And it's 35,000 years old, according to Calvin Alexander Jr., a University of Minnesota geophysics professor.

From the time the faucets were installed, the water was a hit. Regulars say there really is no season or time of day when there isn't a line.

The regulars were hit hard by the news that they would be cut off from the spring.

"This here is a wonderful thing," said Don Nelson of St. Paul. "I'd be willing to pay for this water. A lot of people would."
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 2, 1990
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