For decades, Liberty Cap Brewing co-owner Dan Moser has been digging up the past in St. Joseph.
An avid privy digger, which involves investigating the contents of defunct outhouse vaults, he’s been a part of more than 2,000 excavations. But Saturday’s will mean the most to him.
“This is the first time a brewery has ever hosted a privy dig,” he said.
Inviting the public to join in on the fun, Liberty Cap Brewing will be hosting its first “Privy Dig” event on Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1306 Francis St. The local brewery will be pouring four of its signature beers throughout the day, with donations and profits going to the Allied Arts Council.
“We’re going to be digging a site from the 1870s and ’80s when there were breweries just a block from where we’re at,” Moser said.
While digging up old outhouses might sound like a dirty job fit for a celebrity like Mike Rowe, Moser said it’s a fun way to discover relics from St. Joseph’s past, as privy areas were often used as places to dispose of garbage.
“We’re hoping to find some bottles or some artifacts that are directly connectable to those businesses,” he said.
The public won’t have to worry about getting their hands dirty. Moser and other privy dig experts will be excavating the ground, while people can hang out under tents or near one of the fire pits. What will be brought out of the ground is anyone’s guess.
Located in a historic neighborhood of St. Joseph, Moser — an avid fan of local history — said he’s excited about getting other people to the area.
“They’ll be able to see our historic neighborhoods in a firsthand fashion, rather than a passing pedestrian in a car,” he said. “They’re going to park. They’re going to walk in. They’re going to be on the property.”
As pieces are pulled out of the ground and identified, Moser said that onlookers will get more context to what those items meant to people in the 1800s.
“My wife, Rebecca, she’ll be helping people understand what they’re seeing and be able to talk with them about it,” he said.
After the dig ends at 5 p.m., the group will celebrate with an after-party at Cafe Belle Époque, 1141 Frederick Ave.
“We’ll be able to go to the cozy cafe and warm up and talk about (how) that was the weirdest thing they’ve ever done on a Saturday,” Moser said.
On-hand at both the dig and the after-party, crates will be placed for people to drop off donations for the Allied Arts Council.
“We sponsor so many events for Allied Arts Council as a brewery because we think it’s an important organization (where) funding is never quite enough for it,” Moser said. “We think it’s important because life without art is a very dull thing.”