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Pabst heading back to Milwaukee

Pabst Brewing is to return to its roots next year with the opening of a new brewery near the site of its original home in Milwaukee – but not to brew its signature beer.

A postcard depicting the Pabst Brewery around 1900 in Milwaukee.

The maker of post-ironic hipster favourite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, will open the new micro-brewing facility in summer next year, 20 years after it left the city, and with an emphasis on resurrecting historical brews.

Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1844, Pabst was a fixture in the town until 1996 when the original brewery was shut down and the then-owners, S&P, contracted production out to Stroh Brewery in La Crosse.

Locals were so adverse to the move – the local major league baseball team is called the Brewers because of the town’s beermaking heritage of which Pabst was an important part – that when the company was put back on the market in 2014 they tried to buy it back themselves.

Pabst was eventually acquired by Eugene Kashpar but he has decided to resurrect Pabst in Milwaukee and with a focus on more “craft” brewing using historical recipes.

He said: “Upon acquiring the company in November, I felt our biggest focus should be innovation and bringing back some of these historical styles to be brewed.

“The Pabst family left such a rich legacy here in Milwaukee that we just want to follow in those footsteps and be a part of this community.”

However, although the company may be moving back it will not be brewing its famous “PBR” which has been brewed in Milwaukee since 2001 but under contract at the Miller Brewing plant and this status quo shall remain.

Instead, the company’s brewers will be working on bringing back pre-prohibition ales such as “Old Tankard”, “Kloster Beer”, “Bock” and “Andeker”.

Master brewer, Greg Deuhs, has already succeeded in bringing back the company’s old Ballantine Pale Ale, which he managed last year 30 years after the last batch rolled off the lines.

The new brewery will be housed in an old Methodist church that was once part of the original brewery complex and will feature a museum tracking the company’s history in the city, a tour and, of course, tastings courtesy of a bar, restaurant and beer garden.

What remained of the main buildings of the original Pabst complex was renovated between 2009 and 2012 and now houses a hotel in one building and part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Public Health in another.

Other buildings now exist as apartments and offices.

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