The dapper gentleman in the picture above is Captain Frederick Pabst who, as the son-in-law of the owner, bought into the Phillip Best Brewing Company which had opened in Milwaukee in 1844–by 1874 they were the nations largest brewer. One of the great stories around his company is how they ‘won’ the 1893 World Expo in Chicago with their Pabst Best Select; Freddy Pabst declared their beer “grand prize winner” even though there were a number of other beers that also received the same bronze medal. Pabst was a great marketer and upon ‘winning’ changed the name of his beer to Pabst Blue Ribbon. You can check out more detail on the award here.
As we all know Pabst closed the brewery in 1996 (some great old pics here) and their 152 year brewing history in Milwaukee came to an end–it’s now just a virtual brand being brewed in San Antonio, TX. That being said and knowing that they peaked at 15.6 million barrels of production in 1978 the Pabst brand won Large Brewery of the Year at the 2011 and 2012 Great American Beer Festival. So the next time you’re knocking back a PBR with your hipster friends give a cheers to Frederick Pabst and his historic brand, I highly recommend it especially with a drop of hop oil!