Heritage Brands: What Does This Mean & Why Buy?

Heritage and nostalgia, those warm and fuzzy feelings that evoke memories of happy times past, are in demand these days. But they’re not quite the same thing. What makes people feel nostalgic is a personal thing and it varies depending on who you ask. Someone who grew up in the 1970s might feel nostalgic for bell-bottom jeans, roller skating rinks, and songs by the Eagles or the Jackson 5. But if you were an ’80s or ’90s kid, those nostalgia-evoking images will be different and based on what was popular during those times. Pink and green polo shirts, the Go-Gos, Beanie Babies, the list goes on. Nostalgia marketing is a hot trend right now, targeted specifically to those groups.

Heritage is something different. Heritage means a product, company or brand has stood the test of time. At Behrens, we know something about that. We’ve been making our galvanized steel products for more than 100 years. We’re proud to be known as a heritage brand in the industry and by our consumers as well. What does it mean and why should consumers choose to buy from heritage brands? It’s all about standing the test of time, weathering trends that can come and go, and doing it all with unparalleled quality. A look at our company history will tell you a bit about that.

Handcrafted Heritage

Henry Behrens was born in Germany and came to this country in 1867. He settled in Winona, Minnesota, a bustling river town filled with hardworking people, a place where labor was a way of life. After marrying and having a son, known as Henry J, he opened a hardware store in downtown Winona to serve this thriving community. On the second floor of the store, young Henry J enjoyed tinkering with metal and came up with the idea for the “Cyclone Spinner,” an innovation to help people of the day wash their clothes. The idea took off, and Behrens Manufacturing was born. We’ve been serving hardworking people ever since, for more than 100 years.

Time-Tested Quality

We’ve been manufacturing hard-wearing, tough-as-nails buckets, pails, cans and tubs made from galvanized steel since the beginning. Workmanship and attention to detail were paramount because we knew these tools of the trade would be put to the test every day, on the job. We needed our products to get the job done with second-to-none reliability and performance — after all, the hardworking folks who used Behrens products in the early days were our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. We wanted to do right by them. We still think of our customers that way today, whether they’re here in Winona, where we’re still based, or around the globe.

Vintage sign for Behrens Metalware in yellow


Heritage is also about sustainability. A company, product or brand simply couldn’t be around for more than a century without having sustainability woven into the fabric of what it does. Today, “sustainability” is a popular buzzword, but at Behrens, it’s a way of life. Our 100-year-old sustainability practice uses galvanized steel. We recycle all of our scrap metal every day, leaving no waste on the manufacturing floor. We use it all.