Just as patriotic Americans are lamenting the loss of the King of Beers to an overseas company, Pabst Brewing Company has brought back the original formula for Schlitz beer. Though unpopular in recent history, Schlitz has been around for over a hundred and fifty years and held a top spot among beer sales through the 1950s. They’re back just in time to fill the void left in the hearts of Bud lovers.
Beer of the American Dream
In 1849 a German immigrant named August Krug started selling homebrew from his small tavern in Milwaukee. When Krug dies childless, Joseph A. Schlitz, another German immigrant takes over the tavern turned brewery with Krug’s nephews the Uihlein brothers. Half a century after it began, under the guidance of the Uihlein brothers, the company surpasses Pabst as the best selling beer in the world with a volume of 1 million barrels.
The Uihlein clan survived prohibition mostly thanks to real estate, but kept busy producing soda, malt syrup and candy. In 1934 they resumed their top spot in beer sales, which they held until 1955 when they were surpassed by Anheuser-Busch.
The story of recreating the old formula is almost as compelling as the story of the Schlitz brand itself. Pabst is interviewing old brew masters to come up with the classic pilsner flavor. They’re pulling out all the publicity stops to invoke baby boomers nostalgia for the beer that made Milwaukee famous.
“We believe that Schlitz is if not the, one of most iconic brands of the 20th century,” said Kevin Kotecki, president of Pabst Brewing Co., which bought the brand that dates to 1849 from Stroh’s in 1999. “And there’s still a lot of people who have very positive, residual memories about their experience. For many of them it was the first beer they drank and we wanted to give it back to those consumers.”
Iconic brand. That is the precise word we’ve heard so often lately in build up and sale of Budweiser.