Beautiful certificate from the Pabst Brewing Company
issued in 1947. This historic document was printed by Columbian Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman sitting next to a factory. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Harris Perlstein and Secretary and is over 61 years old.
Pabst Brewing Company is an American company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best. Best known for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, it is historically associated with Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it was founded, although its corporate headquarters are currently in Woodridge, Illinois. Pabst retains a datacenter in San Antonio, Texas, the previous location of its headquarters. In 1999, the Pabst Brewing Company began transferring its production to Miller Brewing Company on a contract basis. In 2001, it closed its last brewery in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The pending InBev purchase of Anheuser-Busch, announced in July 2008, prompted Pabst to claim to be the largest American-owned brewer. In fact, it is a "virtual brewer," a marketing company whose 85 brands are brewed by either Miller or Lion. The Pabst brands make up 2.8% of the American beer market.
The original brewery was founded as The Empire Brewery, later Best and Company, in 1844 by the immigrant German 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 Best and Company, by which time the brewery was already selling a lager which they began bottling in 1875 under the name Best Select.
Best Select became a popular beer, which the by now named Phillip Best Brewing Company entered in competitions, gaining several awards - sometimes winning against its rival Budweiser. So in 1882 the company started selling the beer with a blue ribbon tied around the neck to signify it was an award winning beer.
In 1889 the name of the brewery was changed to Pabst Brewing Company. And 1895 brought additional honors when Pabst became the first U.S. brewer to hit the million-barrel per year mark. The beer was so successful that Pabst began ordering millions of yards of blue ribbon. One factory in 1902 worked around the clock for nearly a year to complete a contract for 10 million yards of ribbon.
When Fredrick Pabst died on New Year's day of 1904 he left control of the business to his sons Gustav and Fred Jr. In 1906, the Pabst Brewing Company first began to use caps on bottles instead of corks. Growth continued up to Prohibition when alcohol production was made illegal. Fred Jr. and Gustav successfully guided the company through the discouraging years of prohibition by switching to malt syrup, tonic, cheese and near beer.
When the beer returned to the market in 1933, minus the blue ribbon, it quickly became a national brand brewed in several locations across the country. In 1935, Pabst was the second brewer, following Krueger Beer, to put beer in cans. Called "Export", the cans came with a picture of a can opener on the side, with opening instructions.
During World War II all cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon were painted a military green and were exclusively made for the troops because of tin rationing. During the 1950’s, Pabst sponsored boxing on CBS, a detail that can be seen in vintage footage of some of Jake LaMotta's fights used by Martin Scorsese in his classic film Raging Bull.
In 1958, with an annual production of 3.9 million barrels (620,000 m3), Pabst Blue Ribbon had now sold a total of 100 million barrels (16,000,000 m3) since first being brewed, an event commemorated by adding the red stripe to the logo. Annual sales figures climbed each year, helped by Pabst cutting the price of the beer, until it reached a record high of 18 million barrels (2,900,000 m3) in 1977.
Although impressive, Budweiser had achieved the same output nearly ten years earlier, and would never again see Pabst Blue Ribbon as a competitor. Although it had fallen from the number one spot, the brewery continued into the 1960's as one of the country's top producers.
Cases of Pabst.Pabst was also renowned in Milwaukee for its brewery tours. A statue of King Gambrinus welcomed visitors, who gazed upon a vast, beer-filled warehouse as they were informed that another, equally-sized warehouse sat in the basement--for distribution to Wisconsin alone. 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 Dark, and Andeker, the pub was popular with both tourists and locals, especially students from nearby Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In 1983 it purchased another famous name in U.S. brewing, Olympia. Then in 1985 Pabst itself became a takeover target when it was absorbed by General Brewing. By the 1990's Pabst was once again positioning itself to regain former glory as it became one of the first foreign brewers to set up operations on the Chinese mainland.
Pabst then entered a period of poor management and decline. After several messy years spent fighting corporate buyouts, Pabst was sold for $63 million to Paul Kalmanovitz in 1985. Advertising stopped. Quality dropped. Drinkers turned elsewhere. At the time of Kalmanovitz’ death in 1988 it seemed like the brewery would have to close, but Lutz Issleib took and kept the Pabst brand alive, although production was fairly static.
In 1997 one of the saddest chapters in Pabst's proud history was written. Facing the cold reality of bleak financial performance at its flagship brewery, it closed all Milwaukee facilities—brewery and headquarters. A century-and-a-half after its birth the last barrel rolled out its fabled doors.
Corporate headquarters was moved to San Antonio, Texas.
Economics eventually forced closure of all of Pabst's breweries in 2001, though the transfer of production to the Miller Brewing Company is a continuation of sorts because Miller was founded in the Plank-Road Brewery which had been established by some members of the Best family, just after the original Best brewery was founded.
In Canada, PBR is brewed in Guelph, Ontario and distributed by Stroh Canada (which is owned by Sleeman Breweries.) A large proportion of the brand's success comes from its popularity in the Greater Toronto market. The company recently began selling Pabst Blue Ribbon in 473-mL (16-fl. oz) cans.
In 2004, Students at Oregon State University approached marketers at Pabst Brewing Company. Pabst agreed to sponsor an unofficial fraternity based on Pabst Blue Ribbon's famous letters.
Pabst's long obsolete Pabst Brewery Complex in Milwaukee has been targeted to be developed into restaurants, entertainment venues, stores, housing and offices. The $317 million project is currently the subject of much debate in Milwaukee.
The former Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee, WisconsinOne of the last of the major Milwaukee brewers, Pabst suffered during the 1980's from an ill-fated dichotomy; the very essence of its success was bound to sideline the brewer from volume competition with Budweiser and the other major American brewers of the 70's. Pabst's Milwaukee brewing process, with a death-grip on tradition, quality, and the "old ways" which made it famous, was in stark contrast to its major competitor, Budweiser, who chose to mass advertise, diversify, and field several modern breweries nationwide outside St. Louis. This antiquation eventually brought the end to Pabst market share and, eventually in 1997, its Milwaukee operations.
Two major events in the beer market revolutionized the mass beer market from 1970 to 1990, none of which Pabst fully participated in. To understand the context of these changes, it's important to note the top selling beers in 1970 in contrast to twenty years later in 1990. The top beers (sales - U.S.) in 1970 were 1) Budweiser, followed by Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, and Miller High Life. By the 80's, the market had been totally re-invented due to the advent of "Lite" beer by Miller and subsequent light beer additions by other brewers. Furthermore, a federal judge had ordered Coors Brewing Company to expand its operations outside of the Rocky Mountain area, forcing Coors to ship their product east of the Mississippi for the first time. The resultant reordering of beer sales by 1990 stacked up with Budweiser still on top, followed by Miller Lite, Bud Light, and Coors Light. Only Budweiser had remained from the original hierarchy, and was the only "non-light" beer remaining on the listing. Pabst had not followed the media frenzy of its major competition, and its choice to not advertise coupled with its staunch adherence with tradition (note how many times other beers change their labels, for instance) gave rise to a grass roots revival later in the next millennium; a resurgence in market share of which Pabst is now fully enjoying.
A 1911 advertisement showing a blue ribbon tied around the bottle.Pabst Blue Ribbon, also known as just PBR, is the most famous product of the Pabst Brewing Company. Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name came from the blue ribbons that used to be tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916.
The distinguishing quote on the bottom of the can reads as follows: "This is the original Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Nature's choicest products provide its prized flavor. Only the finest of hops and grains are used. Selected as America's Best in 1893," a reference to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, where the company historically has claimed the beer won a hot contest.
However, some contemporaneous accounts indicate that many vendors were frustrated by the fair's refusal to award such prizes. One account says that the only prizes awarded by the executive committee were bronze medals in recognition of "some independent and essential excellence in the article displayed," rather "than merely to indicate the relative merits of competing exhibits."
Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association and one of the most prominent names in the world of beer and brewing, published the following tasting notes for Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2008: "A contrasting counterpoint of sharp texture and flowing sweetness is evident at the first sip of this historic brew. A slowly increasing hoppiness adds to the interplay of ingredients, while the texture smooths out by mid-bottle. The clear, pale-gold body is light and fizzy. Medium-bodied Blue Ribbon finishes with a dusting of malts and hops. A satisfying American classic and a Gold Medal winner at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival."
Pabst Blue Ribbon contains 144 calories and 12.8 grams of carbohydrates. Pabst Blue Ribbon is 4.73% alcohol by volume in most markets, though a 3.2% alcohol by weight brew is produced for certain markets such as Utah. In Canada, Pabst Blue Ribbon is 5.9% alcohol by volume. However, in Québec, the label claims it holds 4.9%. Pabst Blue Ribbon Light contains 113 calories and 8.3 grams of carbohydrates.
The beer is primarily known today as the choice beverage of the counterculture. In 2002, after years of decline, sales of PBR skyrocketed in areas like Portland, Oregon, much to the confusion of company heads. As it turned out, its low price and gritty, urban image appealed to the city's thriving hipster scene, resuscitating the brand and lending it a great deal of trendy cachet. Another contributing factor to its resurgence may have been the lasting popularity of the cult 1986 David Lynch film Blue Velvet particularly within the hipster subculture, in which it is the preferred beer of antagonist Frank Booth (portrayed by Dennis Hopper); immortalized in one memorable line where he profanely declares the superiority of PBR to be above that of rival beer, Heineken.
Despite their website featuring art competitions and photos of young people dressed in alternative fashions, Pabst has chosen not to fully embrace the countercultural label or appeal to it arguably because the very same "authenticity" that made it popular would be challenged by over-marketing, as was the case with the poorly received OK Soda. Instead, the company has opted for subtlety, finding clever ways to target its growing niche through the surreptitious sponsorship of indie music concerts, local businesses, dive bars, and radio programming such as NPR's All Things Considered. These techniques have proven effective and have been rewarded with remarkable growth in sales- the production of PBR has more than doubled since its revival in the early 2000's. Pabst's success is seen by some analysts as a model for advertising to a new generation of media-savvy, anti-consumerist youth culture.
Old Style was first brewed in 1902 by the G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse Wisconsin under the name Old Style Lager; it has since grown popular in Wisconsin, the Chicago metro area, Minnesota, eastern Iowa, Lincoln, and Southwestern Michigan.
Old Style was originally marketed only in Wisconsin and the Twin Cities, under the slogan "Pure brewed in God's Country". Eventually, Chicagoans vacationing in Wisconsin developed a taste for the beer, and it began to gain popularity in the Chicago area as well. In 1950, Heileman's and Old Style became sponsors of the Chicago Cubs; the relationship continues to this day, and Old Style is still sold by beer vendors in Wrigley Field.
In 1996, Heileman's was purchased by the Stroh Brewing Company, including the Old Style name. In 1999, Pabst bought out Stroh's and shortly thereafter licensed out all brewing to Miller. When Pabst bought the Old Style name, it did not buy the beer's recipe.
The original Heileman's/Old Style brewery in La Crosse is now owned by the City Brewing Company. City Brewing Company is now brewing La Crosse Lager, which is the original Old Style recipe and is krausened for thirty days. This beer may also be the basis for the brewery's nationally-distributed DB Hobbs brand. This brewery is also the location of what is called "The World's Largest Six Pack," a series of storage tanks historically painted like the cans of beer. Prior to 1999, the tanks looked like the Old Style cans, and are currently painted like the La Crosse Lager cans.
Old Style advertising has often emphasized coldness, with images of ice and snow. In one such series of TV ads, the background music was an excerpt from "L'Enfant" by Vangelis.
Old Style has been a sponsor of the Cubs radio broadcasts since 1950, representing the longest lasting corporate sponsorship of any teams in the USA. Competing St. Louis brand Budweiser has also long been a sponsor of the TV broadcasts, and while its presence is prominent at Wrigley Field, Old Style is more specifically associated with the Cubs and Wrigley Field.Pabst Brewing Company
Location Woodridge, Illinois
Year opened 1844
Ballantine Ale Blonde Ale
Black Label Pale Lager
Blatz Pale Lager
Champale Malt Liquor
Colt 45 Malt Liquor
Country Club Malt Liquor
Jacob Best Pale Lager
Lone Star Pale Lager
Lone Star Light Light Pale Lager
McSorley's Ale Blond Ale
McSorley's Irish Style Lager Pale Lager
McSorley's Black and Tan Porter
National Bohemian Pale Lager
Old Milwaukee Pale Lager
Old Style Pale Lager
Pabst Blue Ribbon Pale Lager
Pearl Pale Lager
Pearl Light Light Pale Lager
Piel's Pale Lager
Rainier Lager Pale Lager
Schaefer Pale Lager
Schlitz Pale Lager
Schmidt's Pale Lager
Special Export Pale Lager
St. Ides Malt Liquor
Stag Pale Lager
Stroh's Pale Lager
Pabst Ice Ice
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com (old stock certificate research service).