“Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder.” – Anonymous
And many Manitowoc residents seem to agree.
With a potential brouhaha brewing over the dismantling of a Budweiser beer mural that’s been hanging around the city for 20 years, the emails came pouring into the mayor’s office — more than 1,100 in just 48 hours asking to save the mural.
After all, the oversized 30- by 90-foot beer bottles have towered over Manitowoc since 1994. The mural, painted on three silos of what once was the Anheuser Busch malting plant, has become part of the Manitowoc’s cityscape.
But when Anheuser Busch sold the property to Minneapolis-based Riverland Ag Corp. in 2011, the mural went into peril. Apparently a conditional-use permit allowing the mural to remain wasn’t automatically transferred to the new owners and city officials deemed the banner non-conforming. The grain storage company had until the end of this year to remove the mural.
Now with time running out, the dismantling of the landmark had begun. That’s when the emails were received by the mayor asking that the mural be saved. And finally, in an 11th-hour decision, Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels and Riverland Ag officials announced that the Anheuser-Busch beer bottles would be saved.
With a proposed ordinance before the Manitowoc City Council that would allow for historic murals, the plan is to start fundraising efforts to preserve and maintain the mural.
Let’s raise our beer mugs to Manitowoc’s citizens and wish them well. And hopefully, the historic beer bottle mural will be around for many, many more years for others to behold.
Jan Basina is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She has a similar mural in her living room.