Pabst Brewing Company
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