Marker 571: Theodore Rietz Distillery

© Photographed October 21, 2018
Erected 2017 by Wisconsin Department of Transportation
and Wisconsin Historical Society
Silver Creek, Sherman, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
43° 33.428′ N, 88° 1.513′ W
43.557133, -88.025217
Google Map

In 1860 Theodore Rietz, at age 30, left Saxony, Germany for the United States. Soon thereafter he helped found the Went & Pfile Distillery Company in Milwaukee. By 1862 he relocated to Silver Creek and started his own whiskey distilling operation. In 1889 he built a three-story distillery structure, followed by the construction of three large warehouses used to store and age his whiskey.

Rye was purchased locally and the malt was made on-site. Rietz’s distillery was one of five legal distilleries in Wisconsin in 1893. In 1910 the daily capacity of the distillery was about 27 bushels of grain with a yield of 100-115 gallons of whiskey. “Rietz’s Rye,” as it was commonly known, was sold in barrels, half barrels, and ten-gallon kegs throughout Wisconsin and beyond. 
When Rietz retired his son Charles took over operations. The distillery remained successful and in the family until it was sold in 1917. The four distillery buildings located on the south side of STH 144 were designed by the Milwaukee architectural firm of Leenhouts and Guthrie, as was the Charles T. Rietz family house, across the street to the north, later in 1903.
The marker is located on westbound Wisconsin Highway 144, just west of the Silver Creek Fire Department located at W6566 State Highway 144, Random Lake, Wisconsin 53075.

Click here for a numerical list of all Wisconsin Historical Society "Official" Markers.

Looking east along State Highway 144.

The marker is located in Silver Creek, Wisconsin.

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