February 6, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Joseph Schlitz

Joseph Schlitz, like many of the legendary brewmeisters, was born in Germany, emigrating to America with his parents. His father was a successful businessman who knew the art of brewing. The family settled in Milwaukee, then emerging as a malt-making center.

In 1855, at the age of 24, Joseph Schlitz worked as a bookkeeper in the August Krug brewery. When August Krug died in 1856 Schlitz managed the company for his widow and two years later he married Anna Krug. The brewery became the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company.

Schlitz worked on his product and eventually established his brew throughout the region. In 1871 the Great Chicago Fire crippled much of the city's industry. There was a tremendous scarcity of water and local breweries that escaped the inferno scaled back production.

Milwaukee brewers stepped into the void, shipping their beer 90 miles south. Schlitz sales jumped 50% and in 1872 Joseph Schlitz adopted the slogan "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." His success in Chicago encouraged Schlitz to expand nationally.

Schlitz quickly rose to 10th position in national beer sales but Joseph Schlitz did not live to reap the rewards of prosperity. In 1875 on a trip to visit his homeland Anna and Joseph Schlitz perished when the steamer Schiller wrecked in the Irish Sea. Control of the business passed to his nephews.

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