All things return from whence they came. Beer is no different and Pabst Blue Ribbon’s recent move is a testament to this axiom. After years of brewing in various locations throughout the US and having it’s headquarters in Los Angeles, Pabst Blue Ribbon will be returning to Milwaukee, where it began in 1844. Some of Pabst’s products are still brewed in MillerCoor’s Milwaukee facilities (also their Texas facilities) when they began contracting to them in the 1990s.
Pabst was purchased by Eugene Kashper’s Blue Ribbon Holdings in November 2014. He also owns Seattle’s Rainer Brewing, which was absorbed by PBR in 1999. Moving breweries back to their roots seems to be a strategy for Kashper.
But he wants his “local legend” brands to tap into their own histories and re-establish their roots.
He visited Seattle a few months ago with intentions of finding a home for long displaced Vitamin R. Kashper is very interested in leveraging the craft beer momentum for both PBR and Rainier.
The proposed PBR brewery is hoping to be open by summer 2016. It will employ 50 people and be built in a 3,000sqft church. He plans to use the new brewery to experiment with pre-prohibition era recipes.
The company will use the brewery to experiment with Pabst recipes for discontinued brands such as Old Tankard Ale, Kloster Beer and other beers made before Prohibition. There are old recipes in Pabst archives at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Golda Meir Library, and at the Milwaukee County Historical Society, Kashper said.
This was his stated strategy for the proposed Rainier brewery in Seattle. He is quoted as saying
“Hopefully people will be more excited when we start making some of the products this brewery (historically) made,” he said.
No doubt, Kashper’s wants to focus on a more diversified beer portfolio for both PBR and Rainier is an attempt to slow the declining sales of PBR and ride the craft beer momentum. He’s returning breweries to their roots, expanding beer offerings and opening up a brewery in a church, as opposed to in a more industrialized area, which is a very “crafty” thing to do. It will be interesting to see how Kaspher’s plan plays out. Will Rainier return to Seattle next? Head on over to our forum and tell us what you think. The discussion has already started!