Storz Beer comeback answers ‘dream’


Note: Storz Trophy Room Grill and Brewery is closed as of October 2015.

Tom Markel had a dream.

It wasn’t a “Field of Dreams” moment, with voices telling him to “build it and they will come.”

But, his dream did talk to him. It said to restart the Storz beer brand.

Markel, along with cousin John, decided about six months ago to restart the family brand. John is a direct descendant of Gottlieb Storz, the original Storz beer maker.

While Markel’s dream was not “Field of Dreams,” was it just as life-impacting?

“I went back to sleep,” he said.

The dream stayed in the back of his head, slowly building to a discussion with his cousin.

During a family vacation, Tom mentioned the dream to John. Asked what he thought about restarting the brand. They discussed it somewhat lightheartedly.


A short time passed. Tom checked the internet to see if the Storz brand was available for use. It was.

He submitted a trademark application on it.

Shortly afterward, he was advised it could take more than a year and a half for final approval. He was advised he needed to start the brand within a year, as well as strongly encouraged to start it even earlier.

It took less than 100 days for the brand and the restaurant/bar to come to fruition, Markel said.

The Markels are proud and excited to bring back one of Omaha’s best-known beers. The beer was part of the family legacy for 150 years. Gottlieb Storz bought the Columbia brewery from the previous owner’s widow in 1878.

Smoke stack from original brewery
Smoke stack from original brewery

The Storz family ran the brewery until 1966, when it was sold. The last Storz beer was brewed in Omaha in 1972. The last beer was consumed in 1978.

So, after 150 years, the Storz brand faded into Omaha alcohol lore. IMG_8096

The response to the restart has exceeded expectations for the Markels. They knew there was a love for the brand, but the success has been almost immediate.

The beer was reintroduced at the St. Stansilaus festival in Omaha.

Tom was told by one of the festival organizer’s they would know if the beer was good based on how it was consumed during the weekend event.


The Markels had 10 kegs of Storz ready for the festival. There were 8 kegs of the beer that was mostly consumed during the festival.

There were people waiting in line for the Storz beer to start flowing, Tom Markel said.

One man, who said he had drank the last Storz in Omaha, wanted to be the first to drink the new brand. He thought it tasted as good as the last one he had, Markel said.

The beer tents opened at noon.

Storz was tapped out by 3 p.m., Mark said.

The other beer had three kegs left.

Welcome back Storz!

Triumph lager
Triumph lager

Storz is producing four flavors of craft beers – Wood Duck Wheat, Triumph Lager, Gold Crest Amber Ale and Mugs Pale Ale.

The Triumph is closest to the original recipe, Markel said.


They have searched for the original recipe, which was lost after the brand shut down.

But they’re not sure they would brew it today. Tastes have changed in the ensuing decades, Markel said.

The brewery is launching bottles for sale. The group sponsored a bottle top design contest.

Twelve bottle caps were selected to be used on the bottles. One has the shape of Nebraska on it in red and the Storz label in the middle of the state.

Bottle caps on display
Bottle caps on display

The beer is served in bars throughout the state.

Besides the beer making and distribution, the Markels set out for a central location to celebrate the Storz brand.

It’s been full steam ahead for the ownership in preparing the old Rick’s Boatyard as the new home to the Storz Trophy Room Grill and Brewery.

The name came from the tasting room at the brewery. The “Trophy Room” housed black and white photos of AC Storz’ many hunting trips to the Alaska wild, John Markel said. He eventually moved to Alaska and still lives in Anchorage.


In opening the riverfront establishment to the public on Nov. 18th, the Markels will work with French chef Yves Menard in building a steak-dominant menu.

Menard, who is also involved with Charlie’s on the Lake, has designed a wide-ranging menu that uses beef as the main item.

Nebraska is known as a beef state and that drives the menu, Menard said. Travel to other cities and you’ll see restaurants offering Nebraska or Omaha steak, he said.

The location of the building is like a great steak to Menard.

Three guys enjoying their beer at the bar.
Three guys enjoying their beer at the bar.

The previous owners started the property in the right direction, but Menard said he thinks the Storz group can take it to a higher level. He is determined for it to succeed.

“If I can’t do it with quality, I won’t do it,” he said.

There are 99 items on the menu on a regular day, Tom Markel said.

But, on special events days, it will shrink to 22 items, he said. It will allow customers time to enjoy a good meal and still have time to get to their event.

They call it the 8-minute menu.

“It should take only eight minutes from the time you place your order to the server bringing the dish to your table,” Markel said.

I thought I’d give the place a try on opening night.


Service was great. the hostesses were friendly and smiled at everyone. I timed my visit right. I was immediately seated.

My server – Tim – was very friendly. He mentioned a couple of drink opportunities. He reviewed the menu with me, asking  if I was a steak lover, or preferred seafood or pasta. I went for the steak. I wanted to try out Yves’ beef selections.

My ribeye steak was made perfectly. It was seasoned just right. I asked for medium rare. A lot of places will cook it “medium rare,” but it is more medium than rare. My steak at Storz had the right amount of pink in it.


They get their beef from farmers in West Point and South Sioux City, both in northeastern Nebraska. They get the right choices, because my steak was delicious.

They offer a variety of sides with the steak – French fries with a gravy side, loaded mashed potato, rice pilaf and vegetable of the day. I went for the mashed potatoes. The tators have cheese and green onions on them. I am not an onion fan, but will eat them once in a while (I know my sisters must be in shock right about now, as I was a very picky child). I liked the onions with the potatoes.

You also get the choice of a side salad or Ceasar salad. The Ceasar comes with mushrooms. I had it without. There are some things I will refuse to eat. Fungus is one (yes, Angie B., I am looking at you – ha ha).

The restaurant/brewery is targeting event visitors as key customers. Omaha is home to the College World Series, major concerts and sporting events at the Century Link Arena, which is across the street.


And people attending conventions.

People come to Omaha expecting a great steak experience, Menard said.

Locals will likely check out Storz because of the history of the name, as well as always being in the mood for a great meal.


As Storz start its future, looking back its history brings the memories.

They have been impressed with the impact Storz beer has had in the community, Tom Markel said.


People have brought a lot of memorabilia to the Trophy Room.

One woman dropped off an old bowling shirt from the 1960s, Markel said.


Another person gave them an old letterman’s jacket, he said.



They have a few cookbooks that the brewery used to publish. The last one was published in 1956, Markel said.

Even their suppliers have a history with the Storz brand.

The company handling their boxes worked with Storz in the old days, he said.

The advertising company they are using – Bozell Jacobs– worked with Storz in the early 1960s.

The Markels and Menard have created a museum of Storz memorabilia on the second floor of the building, which is also used as a banquet room.


As the original Storz brought 150 years of beer history to Omaha, the Markels and Menard hope to take Storz far into the future.

For more information on Storz’ return and the Trophy Room, please see their website at and

Pour a glass and enjoy the ride.