Pabst Mansion

Taking Over a National Market

February 12, 2021

By Pabst Mansion

Captain Frederick Pabst was a German immigrant and former ship captain on Lake Michigan before buying a portion of his father-in-law’s business, Phillip Best Brewing Company. He was a master of marketing and understood there were still untapped areas of the brewing market and began working toward promoting his beer nationwide. This, along with having the latest technology and freshest ingredients, allowed him to become of the most successful brewers not only in Milwaukee but nationally. He started advertising what was later renamed Pabst Brewing Company and his signature blue ribbon beer in mostly newspapers and magazines in the Milwaukee and Chicago area to start off in the late 1870s. With success in that area, they were able to then move on to farther off regions including Indiana and Boston by advertising in the Boston Journal of Commerce and Indianapolis Western Citizen. He was one of the first to create a national marketing campaign to raise awareness about the company and its products. Pabst’s brewing company quickly spread throughout these states and was selling fourteen times their original amount within a few months of being introduced in Indiana. It did not stop there however, Pabst began expanding by acquiring properties including taverns, brewhouses, fire departments, and the famous Whitefish Bay Pleasure Resort and Pabst Theater. With this move Captain Pabst was able to stamp his logo all over the country so that within months everybody in America knew what the hop leaf and red logo represented.

Another form of advertisement that helped promote Pabst Brewing Company was their method of tying blue ribbons around their beer in 1882 to help it stand out against rival beers and companies. This led to the misconception that they had won a blue ribbon when they had only won medals at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878, the Philadelphia Centennial Fair and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

The stained glass featured a picture of King Gambrinus, the patron of brewing, on his throne having a discussion with the Muenchener Kindl. This artwork was created by local Milwaukee artist Frederick Wilhelm Heine and the Charles Baumbach Company.

One of the spotlights of the expansion of the Pabst Brewing Company that drew in thousands of visitors was the brewhouse located in Milwaukee. It was a beautiful feat of architecture as it contained stained glass like a church that helped bring in natural light during the day.  It was used for cautiously selecting the ingredients and mixtures that would be infused into a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Pabst Brewing Company pass issued to tour the brewery, signed by Frederick Pabst.

The brewhouse, or plant as it is mentioned, was impressive not just based on the efficiency and capabilities of their industrial machinery, but was also magnificent in its beauty and design. It was one of the first brewhouses to allow visitors inside and they were astounded by the size and architecture of one of the largest breweries in the world at the time. Thousands of people visited from across the world to gander, bringing exceptional revenue to the company. The brewhouse represented the power and grace of the Pabst Brewing Company and its owner Captain Pabst.

Guests touring the interior of the brewhouse.

Written by Will McClure