History of "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous"

August 1, 2008 9:21:11 AM PDT
A look at the history of Schlitz beer:

1849: German immigrant August Krug opens a small restaurant and tavern in Milwaukee, begins to brew beer and turns it into a brewery.

1850: Joseph A. Schlitz, 20, immigrates from Germany and works for Krug as a bookkeeper.

1856: Krug dies, leaving no offspring, and Schlitz takes over management of the brewery.

1858: Schlitz marries Krug's widow, Ann Marie.

1861: The brewery is renamed the Joseph Schlitz Brewery. Schlitz runs it with Krug's four nephews, the Uihlein brothers.

1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroys many of that city's breweries, giving Schlitz an opening to expand his business.

1875: Schlitz travels to Germany and is presumed dead when his ship sinks in a storm. Since he had no children with Krug's widow, the Uihlein brothers take over the brewery.

1893: The company introduces the slogan "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous."

1902: Schlitz surpasses Pabst as the world's best-selling beer after selling 1 million barrels that year.

1912: Schlitz bottles its beer in brown bottles, marking the first time a brewer does so. The dark color prevents light from spoiling the beer.

1920: Prohibition begins. The brewery makes soda, malt syrup and candy. It survives because the Uihlein brothers have extensive real estate holdings.

1934: Prohibition ends, Schlitz resumes production and retakes No. 1 sales spot.

1953: Strike by Milwaukee brewery workers hurts brewers like Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz, which lose market share to rivals such as Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis.

1954: Schlitz briefly rebounds to again be the world's best-selling beer.

1955: Anheuser-Busch takes over the top spot, which it still holds.

1975: Immediate family management of Schlitz ends and distant relatives and outsiders take over the operation.

Mid-to-late 1970s: Schlitz still sells well, so the new owners try to make more by shortening the fermenting process. But the beer has no foam and is flat, so managers add a seaweed extract. But that turns solid after sitting in bottles for a few months. Schlitz sales fall and the old formula is gone.

1981: Production of Schlitz ends in Milwaukee when workers strike.

1982: Detroit's Stroh Brewery Co. acquires Schlitz and sells off many of Schlitz's plants to pay for the acquisition. It focuses on promoting Schlitz' secondary brand, Old Milwaukee.

1999: Pabst Brewing Co. buys Schlitz from Stroh.

2008: Schlitz reintroduces the classic formula.

------

Source:

Leonard Jurgensen, Milwaukee brewery historian, and Pabst Brewing Co.


Load Comments