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Brewing and Prohibition

Long before Wisconsin became America's Dairyland, Wisconsin was a beer state. Brewing began in Wisconsin in the 1830s, and by the 1890s, nearly every community had at least one operating brewery. Breweries were as much a part of Wisconsin communities as churches and schools. They supplied steady employment to workers, bought grain from local farmers who in turn often fed brewery by-products to their livestock, and they frequently sponsored community festivals, youth groups, and sports teams. Brewing was intimately tied to Wisconsin's people, particularly its German immigrants, who brought their knowledge and skills with them to North America. Despite beer's... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Reformers organize to curb alcohol abuse in 1840.  Reformers organize to curb alcohol abuse in 1840.
Link to article: A look at the life and legacy of Frances Willard  A look at the life and legacy of Frances Willard
Link to article: A 1930 debate on prohibition enforcement  A 1930 debate on prohibition enforcement
Link to article: Baraboo women launch a raid on town saloons  Baraboo women launch a raid on town saloons
Link to article: Two Milwaukee residents predict the failure of prohibition  Two Milwaukee residents predict the failure of prohibition
Link to article: Wisconsin "drys" push for ratification of national prohibition in 1918  Wisconsin "drys" push for ratification of national prohibition in 1918
Link to article: A temperance society forms in 1835  A temperance society forms in 1835
Link to article: The Anti-Saloon League launches a newspaper, 1905  The Anti-Saloon League launches a newspaper, 1905
Link to article: Prohibition robs Milwaukee of its happiness  Prohibition robs Milwaukee of its happiness
Link to article: Frederick Pabst brings beer gardens to New York  Frederick Pabst brings beer gardens to New York
Link to article: Overproduction leads to a devastating crash for hops farmers in the 1860s  Overproduction leads to a devastating crash for hops farmers in the 1860s
Link to article: A man recalls his years on a hop farm in Sauk County  A man recalls his years on a hop farm in Sauk County
Link to article: Richard Owens opens Milwaukee's first brewery in 1840  Richard Owens opens Milwaukee's first brewery in 1840
Link to article: The famed Schlitz Palm Garden closes its doors in 1921  The famed Schlitz Palm Garden closes its doors in 1921
Link to article: The original home of Schlitz beer in Milwaukee  The original home of Schlitz beer in Milwaukee
Link to article: The "High Life" of Milwaukee's Frederick Miller  The "High Life" of Milwaukee's Frederick Miller
Link to article: Campaign literature from the Wisconsin Prohibition Party  Campaign literature from the Wisconsin Prohibition Party
Link to article: A sketch of the beer barons of Milwaukee, 1892  A sketch of the beer barons of Milwaukee, 1892
Link to book: A souvenir booklet from the Pabst Brewing Company, 1907  A souvenir booklet from the Pabst Brewing Company, 1907
Link to book: A souvenir from the Schlitz Palm Garden, 1896  A souvenir from the Schlitz Palm Garden, 1896
Link to book: A souvenir guide to the Schlitz Brewing Company  A souvenir guide to the Schlitz Brewing Company
Link to book: A promotional song from Fred Miller Brewing Company  A promotional song from Fred Miller Brewing Company
Link to book: National conditions under Prohibition in 1928  National conditions under Prohibition in 1928
Link to book: The federal government investigates prohibition enforcement in Wisconsin, 1929  The federal government investigates prohibition enforcement in Wisconsin, 1929
Link to book: The 1885 Constitution of the Anti-Prohibition Association  The 1885 Constitution of the Anti-Prohibition Association
Link to book: Anti-Prohibitionists argue for the economic importance of the brewing industry, 1885  Anti-Prohibitionists argue for the economic importance of the brewing industry, 1885
Link to images: Images of barrels and barrel-making  Images of barrels and barrel-making
Link to images: A leaflet promotes the benefits of a world without alcohol, 1919  A leaflet promotes the benefits of a world without alcohol, 1919
Link to images: The end of prohibition sparks celebration in 1933  The end of prohibition sparks celebration in 1933
Link to images: Images of brewing and breweries, 1860-1984  Images of brewing and breweries, 1860-1984
Link to manuscript: Detectives investigate drinking in Delavan and Oconto Falls, 1917-1918  Detectives investigate drinking in Delavan and Oconto Falls, 1917-1918
Link to places: The Pabst Brewery Complex in Milwaukee  The Pabst Brewery Complex in Milwaukee
Link to places: Frederick Pabst helps to build a theater in Milwaukee  Frederick Pabst helps to build a theater in Milwaukee

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to book: An Italian missionary praises temperance societies  An Italian missionary praises temperance societies

Related Links

Search our catalogs for materials on this topic that aren't yet available online.
Learn more at the Museum of Beer and Brewing
Visit the home of Captain Frederick Pabst
Read more about the temperance movement in Wisconsin

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