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Brewing History

 

    Blatz was originally called City Brewery (of Milwaukee not the one of LaCrosse, Wisconsin) and was run by John Braun.  Valentin Blatz started a brewery next door in 1851, the same year Braun died.  Blatz married Braun's widow and took over operations of City Brewery.  At it's height Blatz produced over a million barrels of beer annually.  More than 80 breweries went out of business from the 30s to the 70s.  Wisconsin breweries were thriving and seemingly immune to the problems that were forcing everyone else out of business.

     Blatz Brewing Company was the first to do many important things among Wisconsin's breweries.  Blatz was the first Milwaukee brewery market beer nationally.  Blatz was the first Milwaukee brewer that had its own bottling plant onsite.  Blatz was a very self sufficient brewery which may be one of the reasons of its demise since it spent so much on building these resources. Blatz owned its own carpenter shop, railroad cars, cooper shop, machine shop, and coal yard.  Blatz was one of, if not the first, to do freshness dating. Blatz was also unfortunately the first of Milwaukee's big four (Blatz, Schlitz, Pabst and Miller) to fall victim to hard times, succumbing to pressure from larger competitors in Milwaukee and across the nation. This giant was around for 108 years until its demise in 1959.


(1846-1851) What eventually became the Blatz brewery was founded in 1846 by John Braun at Main and Division Streets (N. Broadway and E. Juneau Ave.) as City Brewery.

 

(1852-1889) City Brewery at Broadway & Division Streets - Valentin Blatz, Owner

 

1889 - The Blatz brewing interests were incorporated as the Val Blatz Brewing Company with a capitalization of $2,000,000. (big money at that time)

 

(1889-1890) Val Blatz Brewing Company

 

1891 - Valentin Blatz sold out to a group of London financiers known in brewing circles as "the English Syndicate".

 

Here we see the Val Blatz Brewing Company in 1892

 

(1890-1911) Val. Blatz Brewing Co. 609 Broadway Street a division of United States Brewing Co. Milwaukee and Chicago

 

1900 - By 1900, Blatz was Milwaukee 's third-largest brewery. The Blatz Brewery Complex was bounded by Broadway, Highland , Juneau Avenue and Market Street .

 

Blatz Hotel in 1910

 

(1911-1920) Period of time known as the Val. Blatz Brewing Co. / U. S. Brewing Co.

 

(1920-1933) Prohibition, Val Blatz begins to manufacture other products such as near beer, juices and chewing gum.

 

January, 1931 - Val Blatz Brewing Company changes its name to the Blatz Brewing Company.

 

1933 - The end of the Prohibition Act

 

(Unsure at this time) Schenley Industries, Inc., a whiskey producer, buys Blatz.

 

1950 - Blatz is # 9 in the U.S. with a production of 1,756,000 barrels

 

Blatz Brewery in 1956

*note - on the right side of picture is what looks like a black building which is in fact a original brick building that the more modern one is attached to.

 

1959 - Although Blatz was the first Milwaukee brewer to go national, it was forced to close in 1959, and the label was sold to Pabst Brewing Company of Milwaukee .

 

1969 - G. Heileman of LaCrosse, Wis. buys Blatz from Pabst after their anti-trust lawsuit.  In my humble opinion, G. Heileman did more for Blatz than any one who followed.  They really tried to keep Blatz in the spotlight along with their other products.

 

1983 - The Blatz Brewing Company Office Building 1120 N. Broadway Milwaukee, WI located in Milwaukee County was listed on 03-31-1983 in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

 

1986 - The Blatz Brewery Complex 1101--1147 N. Broadway Milwaukee, WI also located in Milwaukee County was listed on 04-15-1986 in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

1986 - The G. Heileman Brewing Company unveiled its new automated Val Blatz 10th Street Brewery in downtown Milwaukee .

 

1988 - The old Blatz brewery was converted to "upscale" apartments.

 

 

1996 - Just ten short years after it's build, the Val Blatz 10th Street Brewery in downtown Milwaukee was sold in 1996 to the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. The ten full-time employees still handcraft 40,000 barrels of Leinenkugelís beer at that facility.

 

1996 - Stroh Brewery of Detroit Michigan buys Heileman and in effect buys Blatz.  On July 1, 1996 the Stroh Brewery Company completed its acquisition of G. Heileman Brewing Company through the bankruptcy court.

 

1999 - Pabst Brewing Company of San Antonio , Texas (formerly of Milwaukee , Wisconsin ) buys most of the Stroh's holdings including Blatz.  Details in the Midwest Beer Notes.  Pabst (the virtual brewer) doesn't own any plants anymore, and Miller Brewing Company of Milwaukee handles most the of Pabst production.  It has also been rumored City Brewery of LaCrosse, Wisconsin (the former G. Heileman Brewery) does some contract brewing for Pabst..............Strange very strange!