August 03, 2012

Facts: Pabst Blue Ribbon Factory

  • The brewing company got its start in Milwaukee after Jacob Best Sr. relocated his German brewery, and by 1844, his entire family had moved to Milwaukee to continue the company.
  • Once a Monomonee Valley brewery (renamed the South Side Brewery) and the Empire Brewery were purchased, the Phillip Best Brewing Company became the largest brewery in the nation by 1874.

  • Between 1879 and 1893, Best's Brewing Company had stretched across the country, opening 40 offices nationwide, 12 in Wisconsin alone.

  • The Malt House, first built in 1882, had the capacity to process 500,000 bushels of grain, and was the largest of its kind.
  • A near-death experience aboard his ship, the Huron, pushed Captain Pabst to join his father-in-law Phillip Best in the brewing business, despite having no brewing background.
  • The Phillip Best Brewing Company was renamed the Pabst Brewing Company in 1889 with Captain Frederick Pabst and his brother-in-law Emil Schandein in control.
  • The 'blue ribbon' emblem came from Pabst advertising efforts to distinguish its beer by tying blue ribbons around each bottle, and officially became a part of the name when Pabst won the blue ribbon at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
  • The brewery laid off 70% of its Milwaukee workers by early 1996 and, shortly thereafter, shifted the rest of its production to Stroh Brewing Co.'s La Crosse Plant.
  • The City of Milwaukee provided $29 million to fund The Brewery project, working to transform this building complex into apartments, offices, and even a restaurant called Best Place.
  • Best Place, the restaurant that opened in 2009, is a small tavern in Blue Ribbon Hall, a room filled with Chicago artist Edgar Miller's 70-year-old frescoes that depict the history of Pabst and the brewing process.
  • In 2001, the U.S. Department of the Interior added the brewery to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In May, 2010, billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos bought Pabst Brewing for $250 million, and intends to extend the brand name into more restaurants, supermarkets and bars.

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