In 1992, we renovated the old Medo-Bel Creamery that was built in 1952. It had fallen into disrepair and was within three days of being auctioned for taxes when Vaune Dillmann purchased the property in 1992. His life-long dream had been to follow in the footsteps of his German ancestors who were in brewing-related businesses. This prime location near Interstate 5 and College of the Siskiyous was the perfect site.
The first challenge was to clean up the contaminated soil caused by an underground gasoline tank. Vaune wrote a grant and was awarded $995,000 from the CA Clean-Up Fund. It took over seven years of daily restoration before the property received a clean bill of health from the CA Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB) in May 1999.
In August, on a visit to family in Minnesota, Vaune got sidetracked and toured St. Paul's Summit Brewery. He found 1938 25 BBL German brew House Summit had outgrown and was willing to sell. It was shipped to Weed, and a significant renovation began to retrofit the old creamery. Which was sold. A smaller 15 BBL PUB system was purchased to get the brewery started and develop sales. Vaune's first brew was made for his daughter's wedding.
We started producing bottled beer in 2005 to increase distribution throughout the west coast. We have liquor licenses for the states of California, Oregon, Pennslyvania, and Washington. Tap handles, bottle labels, and growlers were designed to include an actual picture of the beautiful Mt. Shasta, and Vaune's Weed Arch, now the gateway to our town.
In 2008, we submitted the Lemurian Lager label for approval of the logo. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) would not approve the label until the "Try Legal Weed" bottle cap was removed. Vaune appeared on regional and national TV shows, radio talk shows, and was interviewed by newspaper reporters from around the world that TTB would challenge free speech.
The American Civil Liberties Union was willing to take the case to the Supreme Court. Eventually, TTB granted the challenge and reversed their decision. Our beers now proudly displace the "Try Legal Weed" bottle caps throughout the nation.
In 1987, we engineered the construction of the arch over the entrance to Weed, replacing the original concrete arch erected in 1920. It may be recalled that in 1963, city fathers could not find drawings for the old arch, were concerned it would collapse and tore it down. Demolition took over three weeks as the structure was steel railroad track.
When International Paper Company closed its doors and laid off 400 employees in the 1980s, the future appeared very bleak for Weed. A large group of people developed activities that would unite the town behind a project for its future.
The idea of a new arch was born! The arch was constructed of metal with natural rock pillars. Companies contributed metal, shipping, land, rockwork; students from schools drew pictures of the arch; football players and community service organizations moved the rock.
A geodetic national survey marker was installed in each column, permanently insuring the longevity of this arch. State Congressman Stan Statham dedicated the arch on December 25, 1988. Weed had its identity once again!