Thank you for visiting the BEST PABST SHOP. Our online store is a part of a small, family-run business in Milwaukee Wisconsin known as Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. As our name implies, our business is located on the site of the former Pabst Brewery.
While we like to consider ourselves to be the “Best Place”, we actually take our name from Jacob Best and his four sons who started the Best & Company Brewery in 1844. The Bests’ laid the foundation for success by brewing an exceptional German-style lager known locally as the “bestest of the Bests”. Eldest son Phillip, ambitious and willing to embrace the risk required for future growth, gained sole ownership of the brewery in 1858.
Coming to America at the age of 12, Frederick Pabst worked as a cabin boy on a Lake Michigan steamer. By the age of 21, the charismatic and industrious Frederick captained and owned shares in his own vessel. While accompanying her father Phillip on a trip, Maria Best caught the eye of the dashing Captain Pabst. After marrying Maria in 1862, Frederick sold his beloved steamer “Seabird” and in 1864 purchased his interest in Best & Company. Under his dynamic leadership the brewery grew to become the largest lager brewery in the world by 1892. In honor of his success the name was changed to what we all know and love as the Pabst Brewing Company. Throughout the years, Pabst continued to be an industry leader and along with the Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller Breweries garnered Milwaukee the famous title of “Beer Capital of the World”.
Facing changing tastes and times, Pabst began to lose market share in the 1970s. Pabst then spent the early 1980s battling hostile takeover bids, finally succumbing to California investor Paul Kalmanovitz in 1985. The demise of Pabst was hastened when Kalmanovitz proceeded to strip its management, advertising, employees, and sales. Milwaukee suffered a great loss when the 152-year-old Pabst brewery closed its doors in 1996, leaving behind 28 deteriorating buildings on 21 acres.
In 2001, Milwaukee natives and our owners, Jim and Karen Heartel, obtained an accepted offer for the blighted Pabst Brewery complex. In 2006, with additional investors, they saved 16 historic buildings and began the long process of returning them back to life. We at Best Place guided by Jim’s motto, “Passion, Patience, Persistence and Pabst” have lovingly and thoughtfully renovated the former Pabst General Offices(1880), Blue Ribbon Beer Hall(1944) and Tour Center(1935). Renovations are ongoing in our Corporate Office Building(1858) where we hope to open a Milwaukee Beer History and Breweriana Museum. The brewery complex development, now known as “The Brewery District”, has been a model for historic preservation. Today we are part of a vibrant, urban, mixed-use and sustainable neighborhood. Visit thebrewery.org for more info.
Many THANKS go out to Pabst Corporate for supporting our efforts to keep Pabst alive in Milwaukee. By allowing us to sell their licensed brands at BEST PABST SHOP and in our Best Place Gift Shop in Milwaukee, they are allowing us to share our love of history and Pabst and continue investing in our beloved buildings. As a THANKS to you for your purchase and support, we are including a BOGO card for our beer history tour. Visit bestplacemilwaukee.com for more information.
So please make a pilgrimage to Milwaukee to visit us at the iconic Pabst Brewery and enjoy a PBR in our beer hall surrounded by the history and glory of what was once and continues to be the home of the Historic Pabst Brewery.
We know Fred would be proud. Prost!