‘Hey Mable, Another Black Label!’
Bavarian Inn Lodge Repurposes Carling Brewery’s
Historic Glass Blocks in New Water Slide Tower
Nov. 2, 2012 - Frankenmuth, Mich. -- The year was 1949 when people first started hearing what would become one of the most memorable and successful advertising jingles in early television history. Today, the legacy of Mable and the Carling family live on at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in its $3-million waterslide expansion.
One-hundred ninety two glass blocks -- salvaged from the Frankenmuth Brewing Co. facility built in 1899 -- are being installed in the Lodge’s new waterslide tower. The blocks were added to the brewery in 1956 when Carling Brewery bought the facility and added a five-story brew house. This beautiful addition made it possible to produce 1.5 million barrels of beer each year.
The blocks will now comprise eight windows on three sides of the tower, allowing in ambient light. The Zehnder family had the foresight to save the blocks -- one-foot square and four inches thick -- before the brewery was demolished more than a decade ago. They’ve been safely tucked away in a Frankenmuth warehouse and preserved until this project presented itself.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to maintain a piece of Frankenmuth history,” said Judy Zehnder Keller, president and founder of Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Lodge. “While the brewery is no longer with us, we’ve repurposed a beautiful artifact. These glass blocks -- once windows on the world for master brewers -- will begin life anew in our waterslide tower. We are fortunate to continue this Frankenmuth legacy.”
The Carling brewery operated on the banks of the Cass River until 1990. It was torn down in 2000 and is the present site of River Place Shops.
Not unlike the Zehnder family, which owns and operates the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, Lodge and River Place shopping plaza, the Carling business was started by an immigrant father and was continued through generations of family in the U.S.
“Family businesses are the backbone of our nation,” said Zehnder Keller. “We are proud to keep a small piece of this Frankenmuth icon alive in the renovation to our Lodge. We feel as if we’re keeping it in the family.”
With that principle as its cornerstone, it’s no surprise Bavarian Inn Lodge and Convention Center hired R.C. Hendrick & Son, Inc. for its current renovation project -- a phase VI expansion of its Family Fun Center to be completed by Thanksgiving 2012. R.C. Hendrick began operating in 1876 and is currently in its fifth generation of family owners. R.C. Hendrick has constructed five other phases of the Bavarian Inn Lodge.
Carling Black Label hit its sales stride in the mid-‘50s, ranking in the top 10 national brewers and becoming the “fastest growing brewer" in the United States by 1960. Unfortunately, the success was short lived.
The G. Heileman Brewing Co. of LaCrosse, Wisc., bought out Carling in 1979, leading to a downward spiral for the brand. G. Heileman filed for bankruptcy in 1994, and was bought out by The Stroh Brewery of Detroit, which was eventually sold to Miller Brewing and Pabst Brewing. Today, Carling Black Label is still brewed at Miller breweries under contract to Pabst at Eden, N.C., and Trenton, Ohio.
About Bavarian Inn Lodge
Judy Zehnder Keller designed, developed, and leads the Bavarian Inn Lodge’s seven-acre facility. The multi-faceted resort has 360-guestrooms and a conference center perfect for hosting conventions at the local, regional or national level. Millions of visitors travel to Frankenmuth annually. In 26 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening. To learn more, visit http://www.bavarianinn.com/ and www.frankenmuthweddings.com.
For more information about the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Judy Zehnder Keller, please contact Sue Voyles, Logos Communications, Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-667-2005. Visit the online press room at http://logos-communications.com/bavarianinnlodge