Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Extra! Miller Valley historically a source of pride for many in Milwaukee

Critic At Large

Molson Coors campus today

MILWAUKEE, WI – FEBRUARY 27: An exterior view of the Molson Coors Brewing Co. campus on February 27, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On February 26 an employee shot and killed five coworkers before killing himself. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)

GREEN BAYWis. (WFRV) – The phrase “Molson Coors campus” is in the news.

The location has a deep history. Many people know it better as Miller Valley.

It is the original site of the Miller Brewing Co. one of the big three brewers in Milwaukee at one time.

Frederick Miller started the brewery in 1853, coming over from Germany.

He brought with him a yeast that was the foundation for the famous Miller High Life beer.

That yeast still is used. It is cared for in an undisclosed location.

Clarence Gerds, my father, was one of the few who knew the secret location. He worked at Miller Brewing Co. for more than 25 years, mostly as superintendent of utilities and one of four division heads in the company. He was in charge of electricity for powering the plant, water, gas, ammonia, coal and all the people it took to keep a major plant running and its systems humming to produce more than a million barrels of beer a year.

Victims of Wednesday’s shootings were three powerhouse operators, a machinist and an electrician – all positions within his domain with which he would have had continual contact.

Clarence Gerds was part of great pride associated with Miller Valley.

You find that during Miller Brewery tours, especially seeing the huge copper kettles and visiting the cave in the hill where beer was stored prior to refrigeration as we know it.

Because of its location in a valley, Miller’s tall brick building is visible for miles to the west and is a landmark.

Emblazoned on its south side, next to the trademark figure of a woman in a sliver of the moon, is “Miller – Home of High Life.”

The office of my father was in the lowest level of that building, just past a maze of pipes, roars of motors and the smell of warm beer.

That was the beating heart of Miller Valley.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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