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Nebraska Icon Coming Back To Life

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Photo: Video by kmtv.com

Nebraska Icon Coming Back To Life

By Josh Egbert. CREATED Nov 8, 2013

Omaha, NE- More than 40 years ago Storz Brewing Company empties it's tanks. The great smoke stack went silent, ending more than 100 years of brewing. But the company is back, providing its craft beer across the state.

"We're brining the Trophy Room back to life with a different life motto." says Yves Menard, manager of The Trophy Room.

The Storz Trophy Room Grill and Brewery will sit along the waters edge, just blocks from it's original location.

"Six blocks from here if the brewery, 1894 Gottlieb built that brewery for $500,000 cash, I mean it was a huge investment." says Tom Markel.

That original location was on the corner of 16th and clark, where Gottlieb Storz built Storz Brewery. That big investment paid off nicely. The brewery lasted more than 100 years and became the largest in Nebraska.

That success ended in 1972, when Storz Brewery produced its last drop of beer. That is, until this year.

"This was started out of a dream, I had a dream in the middle of February to start this for family unity."

Tom Markel and his cousin John Markel, the great-great grandson of Gottlieb Storz are behind the reboot. It was Tom's dream that got the beer flowing once again.

"We decided let's start this brewery and I said it's crazy, someone's already bought the name in 1966, I said well what if they abandoned it?"

Turns out Tom's hunch was right. The name was abandoned, so Markel came up with a plan.

"You can't just say let's make enough beer for family and friends and produce a small amount now that everyone's saying I want it I want it, get it to me, so now it's become a really big business." says Markel.

A really big business, with a strong following. Shortly after announcing the Storz comeback, so did all that memorabilia.

"Almost every day we'll meet someone new that used to work at Storz or used to drive a truck for Storz." says Menard.

Above the Trophy Room is an archive of memories. From old beer bottles, to lamps, and even an old letterman's jacket with the Storz logo.

"Every day someone shows up here with something." says Markel.

But it's not just about the coolers or paintings, it also has a little to do with the beer.

"Trying to create that real German craft, not German beer, but German craft like, if you're going to make a car make a great car, if you're going to make a beer, make a great beer." says Markel.

And making a great beer is the goal. A goal Blue Blood Brewery in Lincoln is helping out with. Owner Brian Podwinski will brew the beer, even though the original Storz ceased long before he got into brewing.

"I wasn't even alive when Storz was around last and to be a part of bringing something back like that was kind of cool." says Podwinski.

Storz will produce beers such as its lager, wheat, pale ale, and amber ale. They plan on producing 160,000 cases in its first year. But it's not the original recipes. Markel says people will still taste the original Storz, but with a modern twist.

"We crafted what we believe something Gottlieb would do today. Something created for the craft drinker today that's not so craft that you would go wow, wow, wow, give me one more or oh gosh I really don't like that, I really want a mass crafted beer." says Markel.

The beer will soon pour from the taps in the all new Trophy Room. The 19,000 square foot bar and restaurant, formally known as Rick's Boat Yard. Markel says the look and feel of the restaurant will be just like the original trophy room.

"We put one foot in the past and then we put one foot in the future and we really mold history to be this holistic experience that people are going to experience if they just went back in that 1917 and we're in that trophy room and then come forward into the 21st Century." says Markel.

It all started with a dream nearly one year ago. A dream to bring back that iconic red logo. To reunite family with its past and to give a whole new generation a taste of what once was.

The Storz Trophy room will officially open on November 18th. The beer is already on taps at bars across the metro.