News Conference at 11:30
"Nebraska, we're back!" Those were the words of Tom Markel on Thursday announcing the return of Storz beer to its River City roots.
Storz Brewing Company, in a re-launch of the legendary Omaha brewing giant’s brand, will add its craft brews to Nebraska’s palate and its name to Omaha’s riverfront with an agreement to assume the lease of the vacant Rick’s Café Boatyard at 345 Riverfront Drive.
Storz Brewing Company, which incorporated in May, will work with a Nebraska craft brewer to brew Storz brand beers. They will be available exclusively throughout Nebraska under an agreement with five Anheuser Busch distributors. The company’s management team consists of John Markel, the great-great-grandson of Storz founder Gottlieb Storz, and his cousin Tom Markel.
The announcement of the agreement was made at the former Rick’s Café Boatyard on Omaha’s riverfront. Storz will renovate the 19,000-square-foot bar and restaurant and rename it the Storz Trophy Room Grill & Brewery. The restaurant will open November 15th and be operated by Yves Menard, who owns Charlie’s on the Lake restaurant.
“This is a great day for the Storz brand and Nebraska," said Tom Markel. John and I have been discussing the importance of family and community. It means unity to us. This project has all the elements of unity, which supports our mission statement to glorify God through fellowship, sportsmanship and stewardship.”
In addition to providing jobs and economic development for Omaha and the state, the company is looking at a number of “mission-oriented” activities, including college internships, working with local farmers and stewardship of natural resources.”
“We are a great beer company, but more importantly we are beer on a mission,” said Tom. Markel said Storz will craft beers that reflect the original heritage and legacy of the brand and its founder, Gottlieb Storz, but will brew beer the way he would today. “We will follow our beer mission of age, purity and strength, but we will brew beer for the people that drink it. That’s exactly what Gottlieb would do.”
Storz will introduce its lager, wheat, pale ale and amber ale products in a few weeks. The company plans to produce 160,000 cases in its first year of operation.
The Storz Trophy Room Grill & Brewery will reinforce the theme of the original brewery’s hospitality room, the Trophy Room. “Great food served by a great French chef like Yves Menard will combine with new craft beers and fellowship,” Tom said. In addition, there are plans for a Storz memorabilia museum.
Storz products will launch August 18th at the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Polish Festival. Other events to feature Storz products this month include the Great Nebraska Beer Fest in Papillion, the Cox Classic in Omaha and the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.
"Twenty years ago this was the Asarco lead refinery," said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. She said Thursday's announcement was about Omaha's future and Omaha's past. The mayor said the decision is "an exciting addition to our riverfront."
District 2 Councilman Ben Gray offered his thanks to the company for the decision and said, "We're going to add jobs to this community."
Menard will take the lead in the restaurant. "It should be quality, quality and more quality. With this facility we'll put more than 100 people back to work." He told the gathering as the project was announced that guests should be treated like you would treat them at a party and "this will be our party."
For Ed Myers, Rick’s Café Boatyard became an eyesore since it closed the first of the year. “I walk every day at noon.” Thursday, his normal view had a new look with nostalgic red and yellow that caught the Omaha native's eye. "I just saw it today and I thought, wow. Storz beer, it’s the old sign, that's pretty cool."