Originally the G. Heileman Brewing Company Old Style brewery, and later the La Crosse brewery, it was an unknown genius who, in 1969, realized that the six enormous beer tanks at this site, made for a perfect giant six-pack.
Painted as perfect imitations of Old Style beer, the world’s largest six-pack was born. Sadly, the brewery went out of business in 1999, leaving the fate of the six-pack uncertain. But certain ideas cannot be contained and the brewery was bought by City Brewery and the six-pack was reborn as La Cross. Though in a somewhat disappointing move, the tanks are not painted but covered in giant vinyl sleeves, which does not give quite the same effect as the original did. (The two beers - Old Style and La Crosse - are nearly indistinguishable from one another.)
The six-pack’s greatest claim to fame is probably the hilarious but true facts that people use to illustrate just how much beer is really held inside. Among them: The tanks contain a total of 22,220 barrels of beer, or 688,200 gallons/7,340,796 cans. If you placed all the cans end to end it would run 565 miles long. The World’s Largest Six-Pack would provide one person a six-pack a day for 3,351 years. And best of all: Starting the day you were born, if you were to drink a 12 oz cup of beer on the hour, every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you’d have to live to be about 120 years old to finish just one of the World’s Largest Six-Pack cans.
Across the street from the six-pack, find Gambrinus, the “King of Beer,” who stands with a goblet of beer held aloft. According to the affixed plaque, Gambrinus “invented beer” in the 15th century, a claim written by someone who had perhaps taken a dip in the giant six-pack first.
While visiting the six-pack, you can enjoy the smell of the beer being brewed and it is worthwhile to try to get into City Brewery for a tour.