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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Best of the Brewers

Dec. 26th is the birthday of two Milwakee brewers, grandfather and grandson, who made Milwaukee famous.

Phillip Best (1814-1869) was born in Mettenheim, Germany, the day after Christmas in 1814. He came to Milwaukee in 1844 and established the Empire Brewery with his father, Jacob Best, Sr., and his brothers. In 1860 they all withdrew and Phillip took over sole direction of the brewery.

Four years later, his daughter Maria married ship captain Frederick Pabst (1836-1904), who had often carried members of the Best family between Milwaukee and Chicago. After a close call in which he was nearly shipwrecked, Capt. Pabst decided to take up brewing, and quickly rose to company president. By 1868, the Pabst Brewery had become the largest in Milwaukee and by 1874, it was the largest in the nation, brewing 114,162 barrels of beer. At the end of his career, in the year 1903, it produced more than a million barrels.

Maria and Frederick's son, Gustave Pabst (1866-1943), was born on Dec. 26th, 52 years after his grandfather. He entered the family's brewing business in 1890, and led the company from 1904 until 1921.

Discover more about brewing in Milwaukee at Turning Points in Wisconsin History.
:: Posted in Odd Lives on December 25, 2005

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