Between 1856 and 1882, the original Oshkosh 'Fifth Ward Brewery' stood at the SE corner of Algoma Blvd. and Vine Ave. There, traditional lager beers were produced and distributed to the sawmill workers and their families for nearly 25 years in the same way the german immigrant founders had learned to do in their traditional village style breweries back home. The closing of Fifth Ward Brewery in 1882 is considered the end of old world brewing traditions in the area, giving rise to more modern industrial techniques and trends. (You can thank Lee Reiherzer at the Oshkosh Beer blog for the little history lesson. Check it out!)
Zach Clark and Ian Wenger had no idea that when they began brewing in the basement of Clarks college house on the UW-Oshkosh Campus in 2012, they were doing it in the shadow of the original Fifth Ward Brewery which had stood only one block north of them, 130 years earlier.
This isn't to say that Fifth Ward Brewing Company is a reincarnation of the original, but we know that a sense of place is important for any business, and with that comes the history of the area. As an ode to our brewing predecessors, we continue the tradition of serving the best beer we possibly can while laying roots and writing the new history of the place we call home.
Although we don't reside in the original Fifth Ward of Oshkosh anymore, we found ourselves on a section of S. Main St. that is on the verge of a major revitalization effort. We are proud to be a part of that push to see central and downtown Oshkosh become better than it already is.
Check out the progress we've made inside the brewery.