Schlitz brings '60s formula back home
Schlitz Park may be the last hometown presence for the "Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous," but Schlitz beer is now coming home, in a sense, with what it calls its "Classic 1960s Formula."
Schlitz left Milwaukee in the early 1980s after being sold to Detroit-based Stroh's.
Schlitz CEO Kevin Kotecki and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett officially launch the return here of the original Schlitz at a noon press conference Tuesday, June 24 at Libiamo, a restaurant located in the former Brown Bottle Pub at Schlitz Park. The public is invited, too, to taste the beer.
"We are proud to bring the beer that made Milwaukee famous back home to the generations of Schlitz lovers who have enjoyed it for years," said Schlitz Chief Marketing Officer Brad Hittle in a statement.
Based on the original formula concocted by August Krug in 1849, the beer will be available in the classic brown glass long-neck bottles that Schlitz introduced in 1912 to prevent light from spoiling the beer. Even the old labels are back.
Two-time Brewmaster of the Year Bob Newman worked with retired Schlitz brewmasters to recreate the formula. Schlitz is now brewed by Pabst Brewing Company (although it contracts with Miller to actually produce the suds in North Carolina under Newman's supervision) -- another former Milwaukee icon, currently based in Woodridge, Ill.
"Bob tracked down and interviewed retired Schlitz brewhouse employees and others to recreate the classic taste," Kyle Wortham, senior brand manager for Schlitz, told Beer Advocate when the company relaunched the formula in Chicago in April.
After Tuesday's press conference, a ceremonial first delivery of the brew will be made to Libiamo.
"Libiamo is a classic Schlitz institution in both spirit and location as it is tucked in amidst the buildings that formed the old Joseph Schlitz Brewery," said Wortham, senior brand manager. "We want people to feel the rich history from the old Brown Bottle Schlitz tavern."
Then the "gusto guys" parade -- in 1960s muscle cars -- will make additional deliveries to Sobelman's, Comet Café, Wolski's, Nomad World Pub, Y Not II and Regano's Roman Coin.
"(These) taverns have invited patrons to to share in the brand's return by celebrating in homecoming ceremonies marked by the first cases of Schlitz delivered by a caravan of classic '60s cars," says Wortham.
Fifty other Milwaukee area locations also will initially carry the revived beer.
"Schlitz wants to reconnect with its once core group of consumers," said Hittle. "We are confident that the return of the classic formula in heritage inspired packaging delivered with an old school, gusto attitude will do the job."
As part of the relaunch here, the company will make a donation to support environmental education and other green initiatives at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside.
Krug founded his brewery in 1849 and the following year hired 20-year-old Joseph Schlitz -- fresh off the boat from Germany -- as a bookkeeper. When Krug died six year later, Schlitz took over and put his name on the brewery.
By 1902, it was the biggest brewery in the world and by 1973 it was selling 21.3 million barrels of beer annually.
Mert's been drink'n Schlitz since, like 1200 BC. Now...if the marketing folks at this place have, like, an iota of sense, they will do whatever, spend whatever to get the name/logo "Schlitz" on Tony Stewert's 2009 race car (as he is an avid Schlitz drinker)
I tried schlitz today 9-6-2008 terrrrrific!after drinking bud for40 + years i found abetter tasting beer in schlitz. i cant wait till the bottle beer hits my area. lehigh valley,pa
I think I know the Schlitz fan that grborden mentioned and he is thrilled with the "new" old Schlitz. The local liquor store had a case waiting for him last night.
Earl | June 24, 2008 at 3:51 p.m. (report)
Will it be sold at liquor stores? Schlitz, especially the old formula & bottles, is a great beer. It's great to see Milwaukee embracing its legacy as the beer capitol of the world!
I think I need to take the afternoon off.
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