Schell’s to light the Grain Belt sign with ceremony tonight

Schell's Brewery is lighting up the iconic Grain Belt beer sign on Nicollet Island in Minneapolis. Schell's, which owns and brews the Grain Belt brand, have been working for years to have the sign relighted. (Photo from grainbelt.com)

Schell's Brewery is lighting up the iconic Grain Belt beer sign on Nicollet Island in Minneapolis. Schell's, which owns and brews the Grain Belt brand, have been working for years to have the sign relighted. (Photo from grainbelt.com)

MINNEAPOLIS — Tonight the Grain Belt Beer sign will shine again in Minneapolis after over 15 years. The nearly 70-year-old sign has not been lighted since the late 1990s.

August Schell Brewing will relight the sign at 5:30 p.m. tonight. Prior to relighting a pub crawl and lighting event will be held at the Nicollet Island. The Pub Crawl begins in the afternoon and will tour bars several bars with Grain Belt specials and a few free giveaways. In addition Schell’s will be offering a limited number of commemorative packages.

Schell’s bought the Grain Belt brand in 2002 and managed to purchase the historic sign in 2016.

Ted Marti, president of August Schell Brewing said the 14-year delay in getting the sign was determining whether Schell Brewing or the holders of the trust would cover the cost to repair and the cost of the sign lease. The ownership rights were secured last year and Schell began the hard work of fixing and upgrading the sign.

The Grain Belt sign has officially been added to the National Register of Historic Places, which will help preserve the sign for future generations, but does require additional legal work to make changes.

Marti said there was design work that needed to be done and all the lightbulbs needed to be changed from incandescent to LED. Schell Brewing even has the option to change the lighting on the signs for holidays. The sign can be green for St. Patricks Day, Christmas colors in December or even purple if the Vikings make the Superbowl.

After today the plan is to keep the Grain Belt sign lit for the foreseeable future.

“We will light it at all times to see what it looks like,” Marti said. “It will definitely stay lit throughout the Superbowl.”

The Grain Belt sign was built in the 1940s and is located north of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. The pub crawl and sign lighting are open to the public and non-ticketed. Those wishing to attend the Lighting Ceremony are directed to the Mississippi River banks along the West River Parkway near the Hennepin Bridge.

After the lighting a special After Glow celebration will be held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. Tickets to the party are $25 at the door.

For more information visit the schellsbrewery.com or August Schell Brewing’s Facebook page.

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