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.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.