The Great Northern Brewery was built during the fall of 1994 for the purpose of making Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager and other fine beers. Started by Minott Wessinger, fifth generation brewer and great-great grandson of Henry Weinhard, the brewery was built with a strong family tradition of brewing and a desire to produce the finest hand crafted lagers available.
Minott grew up learning about beer from his father, Fred Wessinger, at the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery in Portland, Oregon. In 1979, the family sold Blitz-Weinhard. After 14 years away from the hustle and bustle of daily brewery life, Minott and Fred decided to build The Great Northern Brewing Company and began brewing Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager.
The Great Northern Brewery was designed by Joe Esherick, a world-renowned architect and friend of the Wessingers. Built in a traditional Gravity Flow arrangement, the mostly automated brew house is one of the most complex for its size in the country. The fermenting and packaging area, known as the Cellar, is open and roomy, allowing for many brewery operations to take place at the same time.
On February 6th, 2010, Minott Wessinger and The Great Northern Brewing Company celebrated the 15th Anniversary of its first brewing.
The Great Northern Brewery is focused on producing Black Star for the Flathead Valley and the greater Montana area. Demand for Black Star is becoming so great that we’ve reached out to our friends in Milwaukee, WI who have graciously agreed to brew Black Star at their original brewing facilities. They will use the same hops, barley and attention to detail that make Black Star the tasty brew that it is. So whether your Black Star comes from Whitefish or Milwaukee, you can be sure you’ll be drinking the same great beer. We truly hope you enjoy Black Star as much as we enjoy brewing it.