Pabst Brewing Company
|Founded||1844 in Milwaukee, WI|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
The Pabst Brewing Company (//) is an American company that dates its origins to a brewing company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best and by 1889 named after Frederick Pabst. It is currently the holding company contracting for the brewing of over two dozen brands of beer and malt liquor from defunct companies including P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, G. Heileman Brewing Company, Lone Star Brewing Company, Pearl Brewing Company, Piels Bros., National Brewing Company, Olympia Brewing Company, Falstaff Brewing Corporation, Primo Brewing & Malting Company, Rainier Brewing Company, F & M Schaefer Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and Stroh Brewery Company.
The company is also responsible for the brewing of Ice Man Malt Liquor, St. Ides High Gravity Malt Liquor, and retail versions of beers from McSorley's Old Ale House and Southampton Publick House (of Southampton, New York).
Pabst is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. On November 13, 2014, Pabst announced that it had completed its sale to Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings, LLC. Blue Ribbon is a partnership between American beer entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco–based private equity firm. Prior reports suggested the price agreed upon was around $700 million.
- 1 History
- 2 Product lines
- 3 Former brands
- 4 Awards
- 5 Advertisements
- 6 Footnotes
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The original brewery was founded in 1844 as The Empire Brewery, later Best and Company, by brewer Jacob Best. The brewery was run by Jacob, Sr. and his sons Phillip, Charles, Jacob, Jr., and Lorenz; Phillip took control of the company in 1860. They started the brewery on Chestnut Street Hill in Milwaukee with a capacity of 18 barrels (2.9 m3). Later, in 1863, Frederick Pabst, a steamship captain and son-in-law of Phillip Best, bought a share in Phillip Best Brewing Co., by which time the brewery was already selling a lager that they began bottling in 1875 under the name Best Select. By 1874 Phillip Best Brewing Co. was the nation's largest brewer. In 1866, Best's other daughter Lisette married Emil Schandein, and Best sold the remaining half of the business to her husband, making Frederick Pabst president, and her husband vice-president. Schandein unexpectedly died in Germany and Lisette Schandein took over as vice-president of the company which she remained until 1894.
During Prohibition, Pabst stopped making beer and switched to cheese production, selling more than 8 million pounds of Pabst-ett cheese. When Prohibition ended, the company went back to selling beer, and the cheese line was sold to Kraft.
Pabst was renowned in Milwaukee for its brewery tours. Visitors to Pabst's tour were rewarded with sometimes bottomless glasses of beer at its end-of-tour Sternewirt Pub. Complete with a statue of Captain Frederick Pabst and waitresses pouring from pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Bock, and Andeker, the pub was popular with both tourists and locals, especially students from nearby Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Pabst's sales reached a peak of 15.6 million barrels in 1978 and then went into steep decline.
Paul Kalmanovitz, a "self-made beer and real-estate baron," purchased the Pabst Brewing company in 1985 for $63 million in a hostile takeover through the auspices of his holding company S&P Co.; S&P's first brewery was Maier Brewing Company, purchased in 1958. When Kalmanovitz died in 1987 S&P Co. became legally inseparable from the Kalmanovitz Charitable Trust. S&P Company was ordered by the IRS to sell the Pabst Brewing Company by 2005 or lose its not-for-profit, tax-free status. After a while, PBC claimed that they were unable to find a buyer at market value and requested an extension until 2010 that the IRS granted.
In 1996, Pabst's entire beer production was contracted out to the Stroh Brewery Company, which utilized excess capacity at the former flaship brewery of the G. Heileman Brewing Company of La Crosse, Wisconsin it had absorbed earlier that year. In turn, the historic Pabst brewery in Milwaukee was closed, ending a 152-year association with the city and turning that company into a virtual brewer. In 1999, Pabst purchased the Stroh label, and the brewery in La Crosse was sold to City Brewing Company. In 2001, production was contracted to Miller Brewing Company, and by then what remained of the Pabst company operated out of San Antonio.
In 2006, CEO Brian Kovalchuk resigned and the board replaced him with Kevin Kotecki. Kotecki swiftly moved the Pabst Brewing Company and its roughly 100 headquarters personnel to Woodridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. The offices in Woodridge were located on historic US Route 66.
Between 2005 and 2010, "PBR brand volume increased 69 percent [and Pabst's] gross margins increased 48 percent, operating profit rose 81 percent, and net revenue per barrel increased 28 percent."
On May 26, 2010, investor C. Dean Metropoulos reached a deal to purchase Pabst for about $250 million. On May 14, 2011, it was announced that Pabst would be relocating to Los Angeles, California.
Pabst retains a data center in San Antonio, Texas, the previous location of its headquarters. Pabst's long obsolete brewery complex in Milwaukee has been targeted to be developed into restaurants, entertainment venues, stores, housing and offices. The $317 million project is the subject of much debate in Milwaukee. On May 28, 2008 a former Pabst Brewery in Newark, New Jersey, which was in the process of being demolished, caught fire and was seriously damaged.
Pabst Brewing Company announced November 13, 2014 that it had completed its sale to Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings, LLC. Blue Ribbon is a partnership between American beer entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco–based private equity firm. Prior reports suggested the price agreed upon was around $700 million.
In July 2015, Pabst announced plans to return to Milwaukee and build a small brewery on the site of the original Pabst Brewing "complex."  The company plans to spend between $3 million - $4 million to redevelop an old German Methodist church, turning it into an "innovation brewery." The new location will craft small-batch brews and focus on the production of new craft beers.
Outside of the United States
Pabst Blue Ribbon America has a licensing agreement and joint venture arrangement with China Pabst Blue Ribbon. It is produced, marketed and distributed by CBR Brewing Company, which jointly owns the company along with Guangdong Blue Ribbon Group under a sub-licensing agreement with the Pabst Brewing Company. CBR is a British Virgin Islands owned company but it is based in China. China Pabst recently released a new beer called Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 for consumption in the domestic market; it sells for 44 U.S. dollars a bottle.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Pabst Blue Ribbon, also known as "PBR", is the namesake of the Pabst Brewing Company products. Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name came from the blue ribbons that were tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916 due to a silk shortage during WWI. It was once again tied around the bottles after prohibition from 1933 until 1950.
- Ballantine IPA relaunched in August 2014 after nearly 20 years off the market. This is Pabst's foray into the craft beer scene. Ballantine's flagship beer, Ballantine XXX Ale, has remained on the market since the prohibition ended. Ballantine Brewery was acquired by Pabst in 1985 when it bought Falstaff.
- Schlitz was first brewed by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Schlitz was one of the world's top-selling beers during the first half of the 20th Century. Pabst Brewing Company also produces four Schlitz malt liquors—Schlitz Red Bull, Schlitz Bull Ice, Schlitz High Gravity, and Schlitz Malt Liquor.
- Old Milwaukee is a pale lager. It was first brewed in 1890 by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was later reintroduced in 1955 as a value priced beer.
- Colt 45 is a brand of malt liquor first produced in 1963 by the National Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. Colt 45 was named after running back #45 Jerry Hill of the 1963 Baltimore Colts.
- St. Ides is a brand of malt liquor first launched by the McKenzie River Corporation in 1987. St. Ides gained prominence during the late 1980s and early 1990s through the use of celebrity endorsements by rap artists. Ice Cube, 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Scarface, The Notorious B.I.G., and Method Man & Redman were a few of the rappers who endorsed the brand.
- The Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit, Michigan first brewed Stroh's beer in 1850. Stroh's is an American-style lager.
- Old Style was first brewed in 1902 by the G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin under the name Old Style Lager; it was popular in Wisconsin, the Chicago metro area, Minnesota, eastern Iowa, Lincoln, Nebraska, southwestern Michigan, Upper Michigan, and Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota. The original Heileman's Old Style brewery in La Crosse is now owned by the City Brewing Company. It brews La Crosse Lager, which is based upon the original Old Style recipe and is kräusened for 30 days. This beer may also be the basis for the brewery's nationally-distributed DB Hobbs brand.
- In the early 1990s, Chicago-born actor Dennis Farina made a series of commercials for Old Style beer, mentioning that it was "our great beer... and they can't have it." Old Style is prominently featured on the Showtime Original series Shameless, the AMC Original Series Better Call Saul, as well as referenced in the song "End of the Night" by ska-swing band the Cherry Poppin' Daddies and drunk by Peggy and Don in Mad Men S7/E7, "Waterloo", as they watch the July 20, 1969 lunar landing.
- Lone Star was first brewed by Lone Star Brewing Company in San Antonio, Texas. It was Lone Star Brewing Company's main brand and marketed as "The National Beer of Texas."
- The Olympia Brewing Company in Tumwater, Washington first brewed Olympia beer. Olympia is an American-style pale lager.
- Rainier Beer was first brewed in Seattle, Washington by the Rainier Brewing Company. It is popular in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
- Schmidt Beer was first brewed by the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1855. It is popular throughout the Upper Midwest.
- National Bohemian, also known as "Natty Boh" or simply "Boh" was the flagship beer of the National Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Bohemian-style American beer. Ninety percent of National Bohemian sales are in the Baltimore area.
Pabst introduced a premium brewed European style lager called Andeker in 1939. After dying out in the 1960s it was brought back from 1972 to 1986, brewed from extra-rich malt, specially selected grain, and select hops, then given extra ageing - lagering in German - to develop a full, rich, smooth "continental" taste, according to its promotions.
It has been described as "The most European of the Americans, with full body and well-modulated flavor. Creamy rather than violently carbonated, sharp but not bitter."
Red, White and Blue
Red White & Blue was a brand of beer produced and sold by Pabst from before Prohibition until the mid-1980s. Pre-Prohibition advertisements lauded its "mellow" taste and drinkability. After years of average sales, the brand saw significant growth in the early 1980s due to creative marketing campaigns. However, Pabst reformulated it to reduce costs and by the mid-1980s it was known as a "cheap beer". Sales steeply declined and the brand was discontinued.
Awards at the Great American Beer Festival:
|1990||Silver||American Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|1990||Silver||Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1991||Gold||American Lager||Pearl Lager Beer|
|1991||Gold||American Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1992||Gold||American Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1992||Silver||American Dry Lager||Olympia Dry|
|1993||Gold||American Dry Lager||Olympia Dry|
|1994||Gold||American Light Lager||Pabst Genuine Draft Light|
|1994||Gold||American Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1994||Silver||American Dry Lager||Olympia Dry|
|1995||Gold||American Light Lager||Pabst Genuine Draft Light|
|1995||Gold||American Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1995||Gold||American Specialty Lager||Olympia Dry|
|1996||Gold||American Light Lager||Pabst Genuine Draft Light|
|1996||Silver||American Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|1997||Gold||American Style Specialty Lager||Olde English 800|
|1997||Gold||Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverages||Pabst NA|
|1998||Gold||Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverages||Pabst NA|
|1998||Silver||American Style Light Lager||Pabst Genuine Draft Light|
|2000||Silver||Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverages||Pabst NA|
|2003||Gold||American Style Light Lager||Old Style Light|
|2003||Gold||American Style Lager||Old Milwaukee|
|2003||Silver||American Style Lager||Rainier|
|2003||Bronze||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2003||Bronze||American Lager/Ale or Cream Ale||Old Style|
|2004||Gold||Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage||Old Milwaukee NA|
|2004||Gold||American Style Light Lager||Rainier Light|
|2004||Gold||American Style Lager||Old Milwaukee|
|2004||Silver||American Lager/Ale or Cream Ale||Special Export|
|2004||Silver||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2004||Silver||American Style Specialty Lager||Schlitz Malt Liquor|
|2004||Bronze||American Style Lager||Schlitz|
|2004||Bronze||American Style Premium Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|2004||Bronze||American Style Specialty Lager||St. Ides Malt Liquor|
|2005||Gold||American Style Premium Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|2005||Gold||American Style Lager||Stag|
|2005||Gold||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2005||Silver||American Style Premium Lager||Olympia|
|2005||Silver||American Style Lager||Rainier|
|2005||Bronze||American Cream Ale or Lager||Special Export|
|2006||Gold||American Style Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|2006||Gold||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2006||Silver||American Cream Ale or Lager||Lone Star|
|2006||Bronze||American Style Lager||Blatz|
|2007||Gold||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Lone Star|
|2007||Gold||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2007||Silver||American Style Light Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon Light|
|2007||Silver||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
|2008||Gold||American Style Cream Ale or Lager||Lone Star|
|2008||Gold||American Style Lager or Premium Lager||Olympia|
|2008||Silver||American Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2008||Silver||American Style Lager or Premium Lager||Blatz|
|2010||Silver||American Style Lager or Light Lager||Old Milwaukee|
|2010||Silver||American Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager||Rainier|
|2010||Bronze||American Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
|2011||Gold||American-Style Lager, Light Lager or Premium Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2011||Bronze||American-Style Lager, Light Lager or Premium Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon Light|
|2011||Silver||American Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager||Rainier|
|2011||Bronze||American Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
|2012||Gold||American-Style Lager, Light Lager or Premium Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|2012||Silver||American Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
Awards at the World Beer Cup:
|1996||Gold||American Style Malt Liquor||Olde English 800|
|1996||Silver||American Style Malt Liquor||Schlitz Malt Liquor|
|1996||Bronze||American Style Malt Liquor||Country Club Malt Liquor|
|1996||Bronze||American Style Ice Lager||Schlitz Ice|
|1998||Gold||American Style Malt Liquor||Schlitz Malt Liquor|
|2006||Gold||American Style Premium Lager||Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|2006||Gold||American Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
|2008||Gold||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Special Export|
|2008||Gold||American-Style Light Lager||Old Milwaukee Light|
|2008||Silver||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Lone Star|
|2008||Silver||American-Style Light Lager||Lone Star Light|
|2010||Silver||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Old Style|
|2010||Silver||American-Style Lager||National Bohemian|
|2010||Bronze||American-Style Cream Ale or Lager||Lone Star|
|2010||Bronze||American-Style Specialty Lager||Colt 45|
Golden Icon Awards by Travolta Family Entertainment:
|2006–2007||Golden Icon||Best Domestic Beer||Old Style Light|
- Our Portfolio from the company's website
- Li, Shan. "Pabst headquarters moving to Los Angeles." Los Angeles Times. May 14, 2011.
- Contact from the company's website
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- "Former Pabst execs bitter about shift in philosophy under new owners" by Julie Wernau. The Chicago Tribune, June 04, 2011 
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- The Great Gulp: A Consumer Guide's to Beer 
- Thomas C. Cochran, The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of An American Business. New York: New York University Press, 1948.
- Pabst Brewing Company
- Paul Bialas Photography & Brewery Books, modern images of the dilapidated Schlitz and Pabts breweries.
- Olympia Beer: The Death of a Brand[dead link]
- Old Style Beer: History
- Illustrated History of the Olympia Brewing Company
- Pabst Brewing Company and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition Urban Myth Debunked., Neil Gale, PhD - Historian