A history of Schlitz beer

A history of Schlitz beer

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A look at the history of Schlitz beer:

1849: German immigrant August Krug opens a small restaurant and tavern in Milwaukee, begins to brew beer and turns it into a brewery.

1850: Joseph A. Schlitz, 20, immigrates from Germany and works for Krug as a bookkeeper.

1856: Krug dies, leaving no offspring, and Schlitz takes over management of the brewery.

1858: Schlitz marries Krug's widow, Ann Marie.

1861: The brewery is renamed the Joseph Schlitz Brewery. Schlitz runs it with Krug's four nephews, the Uihlein brothers.

1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroys many of that city's breweries, giving Schlitz an opening to expand his business.

1875: Schlitz travels to Germany and is presumed dead when his ship sinks in a storm. Since he had no children with Krug's widow, the Uihlein brothers take over the brewery.

1893: The company introduces the slogan "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous."

1902: Schlitz surpasses Pabst as the world's best-selling beer after selling 1 million barrels that year.

1912: Schlitz bottles its beer in brown bottles, marking the first time a brewer does so. The dark color prevents light from spoiling the beer.

1920: Prohibition begins. The brewery makes soda, malt syrup and candy. It survives because the Uihlein brothers have extensive real estate holdings.

1934: Prohibition ends, Schlitz resumes production and retakes No. 1 sales spot.

1953: Strike by Milwaukee brewery workers hurts brewers like Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz, which lose market share to rivals such as Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis.

1954: Schlitz briefly rebounds to again be the world's best-selling beer.

1955: Anheuser-Busch takes over the top spot, which it still holds.

1975: Immediate family management of Schlitz ends and distant relatives and outsiders take over the operation.

Mid-to-late 1970s: Schlitz still sells well, so the new owners try to make more by shortening the fermenting process. But the beer has no foam and is flat, so managers add a seaweed extract. But that turns solid after sitting in bottles for a few months. Schlitz sales fall and the old formula is gone.

1981: Production of Schlitz ends in Milwaukee when workers strike. Also in 1981, Schlitz agreed to be acquired by La Crosse-based G. Heileman Brewing Co. But that October, Assistant Attorney General William F. Baxter said the antitrust division would file suit if Heileman tried to go through with the purchase. That was the end of the deal.

1982: Detroit's Stroh Brewery Co. acquires Schlitz and sells off many of Schlitz's plants to pay for the acquisition. It focuses on promoting Schlitz' secondary brand, Old Milwaukee.

1999: Pabst Brewing Co. buys Schlitz from Stroh.

2008: Schlitz reintroduces the classic formula.

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