Pabst Returns to Milwaukee to Build Innovation Brewery


Pabst Brewing Company today announced plans to build a new innovation brewery on the site of its original production facility in Milwaukee, Wisc.

In a press release, the company said it plans to sign a multi-year lease on a building within the Pabst brewery “complex,” a mixed-use site that has already been partially redeveloped to include office buildings, apartments and a hotel.

According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the new brewery and tasting room will open in a former German Methodist church, a 6,000 sq. ft. space that had previously been used as an employee bar and training center in the 1970s and 1980s. A second floor restaurant, operated by Milwaukee restaurateur Mike Eitel, is also planned, according to the paper.

Slated to open next summer, the company will spend between $3 – $4 million to build “small brewery” that will serve as the company’s “innovation hub” for new product ideas and the creation of new craft beers. Once complete, the new brewery will be capable of producing about 2,000 barrels per year, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Pabst is partnering with (and leasing the space from) Milwaukee-based developers Zilber, Ltd., who purchased the 20-acre complex in August 2006.

“The launch of this brewery in Pabst’s original home represents a long-awaited return to our roots,” chairman and CEO Eugene Kashper said in the statement. “Milwaukee is our home – the Pabst Mansion, the Pabst Theater, Pabst Farms, and this beautiful brewery complex – these are all part of Frederick Pabst’s amazing legacy, which we are honored to continue by returning to our hometown and birthplace.”


A perspective aerial rendering of redevelopment at the historic Pabst Brewing Complex (The Brewery Project LLC)


In addition to brewing many of Pabst’s pre-prohibition brands like Old Tankard Ale, Andecker, and others, Pabst said it intends to brew new craft beers “inspired by recipes from the Pabst archives.” The tasting room will feature “exclusive small-batch brews” that will only be poured on site.

In a conversation with Brewbound earlier this month, Kashper — who jointly purchased the company with TSG Consumer Partners, a New York private equity firm, in September – said the company was actively looking to “build a craft portfolio.”

“We have a national distribution platform and an ethos that fits with craft,” he said at the time.

Kashper said the company would consider acquisitions as well as new product innovations as a means of growing its portfolio of craft offerings.

“Go back and look at the history books,” he said. “Look at the flavor profiles. All of these companies were, in effect, craft brewers. We have that in the archives and there is a lot to work with there.”

Pabst Brewing currently works with 12 large-scale breweries to produce brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz and Old Milwaukee. It currently boasts more than 30 brands in its portfolio.

Company principals, including Kashper, also recently acquired a stake in Illinois-based Small Town Brewery, which has become known for its fast-growing alcoholic root beer brand, “Not Your Father’s Root Beer.”