TMB’s IMS Illuminates Iconic Minneapolis Grain Belt Beer Sign Landmark

May 24, 2018

TMB’s IMS Illuminates Iconic Minneapolis Grain Belt Beer Sign Landmark

May 24, 2018


After 21 years in the dark, the classic Grain Belt Beer sign is once again brightening the Minneapolis skyline.  Built in 1941, the 50×40-foot landmark was the largest free-standing sign in the region, but since 1996 the old incandescent lamps have been dark.  A recent renovation by S.M.L. Electrical, supported by JTH Lighting, features over 1,000 Intelligent Marquee Systems (IMS) RGBW LED lamps.

“Pat and Sean Lawrance of S.M.L. Electrical approached us to find a color changing, power line control solution,” explains Mike Steskal of JTH Lighting.  “They wanted to use existing wiring and S14-style lamps to maintain the sign’s historic look.  The system also had to handle the harsh Minnesota cold, which was amply proven last New Year’s Eve when fired up with the thermometer at -8 °F!”

“Located 100 feet above a river, you don’t want to be replacing lamps,” says Sean Lawrance of S.M.L.  “They had to be weatherproof, shatterproof, and reliable, plus we wanted a system that was bright and easy to address.  The IMS system succeeded on all counts.  Having many lamp options proved to be a sizeable problem for us since the historical society and city council each had preferences.  We agreed on RGBW for programming versatility and we couldn’t be happier.”

Lawrance adds, “Using a couple IMS Hand Held Programmers, we opted for a simple program, addressing each letter of ‘Grain Belt’ and a single address for ‘Beer.’  Twelve IMS Mk2 Universe Drive IP65 models drive the marquee lamps.  We’ve customized the colors for special occasions; for example, purple for the Vikings playoffs, and green for St. Patrick’s Day.  The IMS colors are rich and bright and can be seen for miles.”

S.M.L. Electrical of Minneapolis is a full-service sign and lighting company.  Providing design, survey, fabrication, installation and maintenance for all types of signs and lighting, family-owned S.M.L. is a licensed electrical contractor providing all types of outdoor electrical services.  Learn about S.M.L. at

JTH Lighting Alliance is a nationally respected manufacturer’s representative working in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  With over 200 years of combined experience, JTH has been a trusted source for the most current lighting fixtures, applications, and control since 1988.  Find out more about JTH Lighting at

Intelligent Marquee Systems individually DMX-controlled, long-life, LED marquee/festoon lighting systems feature RGBW, Dynamic White, and Warm White V12 “Filament” lamp versions.  Shatterproof and outdoor-rated, IMS lamps last many years, even in the most extreme climates, and are safe to use in public areas.  IMS proprietary technology combines data and 24V power over two-conductor cabling.  This, and the IMS lamp’s standard Edison base, allows retrofit into existing festoon or marquee systems.  Universe Drive power supplies are available in DIN Rail, IP65, PortableMount (ideal for touring), and various RackMount versions.  The very handy and powerful HHP (Hand Held Programmer), used to address the individual IMS lamps, completes the system.

IMS is distributed exclusively worldwide by TMB:, and TMB’s Global Distribution Partners:

Learn more about TMB’s range of professional products and services at



As ever, you have managed to perform minor miracles in getting things completed to deadline.
Ian Saunders White Light Ltd.
I really appreciate your attention to detail and your outstanding customer service!
Bradlee G. Jones PSAV
Thank you so much for getting this out to our customer in Macau. They were extremely impressed and grateful. You and your team did a fantastic job.
Julie Duarte 4Wall
Just wanted to say a big thank you for turning all the cable around last week. All went out on trucks in time. Appreciate all the support from you guys.
Lucy Taylor VER
Thanks for making my sh** week that little bit easier
Ed Railton Limelite Lighting Limited
TMB delivered great technical support for our supply of Flare LR Q+ fixtures. It is a great product we’re happy to stock. TMB support and the Flare product line is a great pairing.
Robert Kennedy Solotech