Authentic Wisconsin.  Frederick Pabst

Frederick Pabst - Brewer; born Johann Gottlieb Friedrich on March 28, 1836, in the village of Nikolausrieth, which is in the Province of Saxony, in the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1848, Pabst emigrated with his parents to the United States, settling first in Milwaukee, and then Chicago.

The following year Pabst's mother died in a cholera epidemic. In Chicago, Pabst and his father, Gottlieb Pabst, had to eke out a living. For a while they worked as waiters and busboys. Frederick soon gave this up, however. Because he had enjoyed his voyage to America, he decided to become a cabin-boy on a Lake Michigan steamer. By the time he was 21, Pabst had earned his pilot's license, and was captain of one of these vessels. In this capacity, he met a German, Phillip Best, the owner of a small but prosperous brewery founded in 1844 in Milwaukee. Pabst married Best's daughter, Maria, on March 25, 1862.

For the next year and a half, Pabst continued to ply the waters of Lake Michigan as a ship's captain, until an accident in December 1863 led to a change in career. While trying to bring his craft into Milwaukee harbor, Pabst's ship ran aground. A short while later, Pabst purchased half of Best's brewing company.

In 1864, when Pabst was taken into partnership in his father-in-law's brewery, he began to study the details of the business. After obtaining a thorough mastery of the art of brewing, Pabst turned his attention to extending the market for the beer and before long had raised the output of the Best brewery to 100,000 barrels a year. The brewery was eventually converted into a public company and its capital repeatedly increased in order to cope with the continually increasing trade. He became president of the corporation in 1873. Later, the brewing company's name was changed to the Pabst Brewing Company.

The brewing company's renowned "Blue Ribbon" label was introduced in the 1890s. The beer never actually won a blue ribbon. During some festivals (i.e. World's Fair in Chicago), Pabst placed a blue ribbon around his Best beer (named after founder Phillip Best) so it would stand out among the others. People would start identifying the beer as the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Instead of correcting the public, Pabst just wisely renamed it. Pabst trademarked the Blue Ribbon in 1900.

For more information on Frederick Pabst, visit Wikipedia.

Buy Pabst paraphernalia at Amazon. (Click on image below to browse.)




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Famous Wisconsinites

Frederick Pabst

Frederick Pabst.

Above: Frederick Pabst.

Pabst mansion on Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee.

Above: Pabst mansion in Milwaukee. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported: Sailko

Vintage Blatz advertisement.

Above: Vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon advertisement (1911).

Above: Pabst beer television commercial (1977).

Above: Pabst Beer television commercial (1978).

Above: Pabst Beer television commercial (1975).

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