Chicago, IL (April 2008) – Schlitz®, long known as “The beer that made Milwaukee famous” and once the best-selling beer in the United States, makes a comeback today on the 75th anniversary of its return to Chicago following Prohibition. Pabst Brewing Company in Woodridge, Ill., which now produces the iconic brand, is re-launching Schlitz “Classic 1960s Formula” based on the original recipe and packaged in traditional “Brown Glass” – a packaging innovation that Schlitz introduced in 1912 to prevent light from spoiling beer before it can be served. Chicago is third in a phased re-launch of Schlitz that included Florida and Minnesota markets late last year. The initial roll-out of six- and twelve-pack varieties, priced comparable to other premium domestic brands, will be to select Schlitz accounts with a citywide expansion slated for 2009.
Pabst Brewing Company (PBC) is partnering with Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. in Lincolnwood, Ill. to distribute the classic Schlitz formula and has a longstanding and rewarding relationship with the beer distributor, based on Schlitz and other brands within the PBC portfolio.
Founder Louis Glunz I first supplied Schlitz for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and 40 years later, his eldest son and successor, Louis Glunz II, tapped the first kegs of Schlitz when they arrived by train in Chicago on April 7, 1933. On that date, the Volstead Act was modified allowing the sale of 3.2 percent beer in advance of the ratification of the 21st Amendment which repealed Prohibition. The Brewers Association reports that over 1.5 million barrels of beer was consumed nationwide in the 24-hours following what was the beginning of the end of Prohibition!
Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. has since served as a Schlitz bottler for many years and has continued to distribute Schlitz in spite of the brand’s losing its “Gusto” along the way to keep up with beer trends. General Manager, Jerry Glunz, attributes the steady decline in sales of Schlitz to a changed formula in the mid 1970s and packaging that was converted from a full package line to only cans in 1998. “We’re confident that a return to the original formula and the classic ‘Brown Glass’ longneck bottles will revitalize the Schlitz brand,” said Glunz.
Borrowing a page from their 120-year history, representatives of Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. will deliver the first coveted cases of Schlitz “Classic 1960s Formula” this afternoon from a replica of its original horse-drawn wagon. The route through Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood includes two old Schlitz tied-houses, Schubas Tavern and Southport Lanes & Billiards, as well as Cardinal Liquors, 1000 Liquors, The Long Room, Simon’s Tavern, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, and Glunz Bavarian Haus. The product will also be available at Louis Glunz’s original shop, since renamed The House of Glunz, at Wells and Division Streets in Chicago’s Old Town.
“Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. introduced Schlitz to Chicago and we’re excited to work with them to re-launch the original formula,” said Brad Hittle, chief marketing officer of Pabst Brewing. “Their heritage with Schlitz is unsurpassed among beer distributors across the country.”
“We are delighted about the comeback of Schlitz, the brand that brought us to the dance,” said Jack Glunz, president of Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. “The ‘Classic 1960s Formula’ is just as we remember from the heydays, a perfect balance between full-flavor and easy drinking with ‘just a kiss of the hops.’ This re-launch is a tribute to my grandfather’s legacy!”
According to Kyle Wortham, senior brand manager for Schlitz, the classic taste profile of Schlitz “Classic 1960s Formula” is the result of research by Pabst Brewmaster, Bob Newman, who was named the 2006 and 2007 Brewmaster of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival®. “Bob tracked down and interviewed retired Schlitz brewhouse employees and others to recreate the classic taste,” explained Wortham. Mr. Glunz, who also provided access to Schlitz marketing materials in his company’s archives, was among those interviewed.
In addition to a return to the original taste profile, dedicated to those who miss the full-bodied Schlitz as they knew it, Wortham said that the classic formula will feature heritage-inspired packaging and old-school attitude to reinforce the values that resonate with guys who remember the 1960s. A new print and outdoor advertising campaign includes imagery from that era and suggests that the intended drinker go back to a formula from a time when values mattered: “the cars were cooler, the athletes didn’t cheat, and the beer was better.” Marketing support also includes a new website, http://www.schlitzgusto.com/ , public relations, and tasting parties.
“Schlitz coined the phrase ‘Go For The Gusto,’ and we intend this campaign to reach beer drinkers where they live and remind them of some of the best times of their lives when even the beer tasted better,” said Wortham. “We’re setting the stage for a significant comeback.”
About Schlitz Beer
The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and produced Schlitz, often considered the archetype of working-class beers and supported by one of the best-known slogans in the American brewing industry: “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.”
The company was founded by Joseph Schlitz who came to America from Germany in 1850 at the age of 20. Schlitz flourished in pre-Civil War Milwaukee, where saloons and breweries sprang up by the hundreds. The company really began to succeed, however, after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when Schlitz donated thousands of barrels of water and beer to the city, which had lost most of its breweries. He ultimately opened a distribution point in Chicago and built dozens of tied-houses as part of an almost modern franchise concept, most with a concrete relief of the Schlitz logo embedded in the exterior brickwork.
Schlitz died in 1875, but the brewery continued producing his namesake beer which became the best-seller in the U.S. in the 1950s. The brewery continued to grow through the 1970s selling 24 million cases annually in the Chicago Metro area alone, and was ranked No. 2 in America as late as 1976, surpassed only by Budweiser. Cost-cutting in the brewing process, which produced a product that the public deemed inferior, combined with a crippling 1981 strike by workers, led to an acquisition in 1982 by the Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit. In 1999, Stroh befell the same fate and closed its doors, selling the Schlitz label to Pabst Brewing Company. Founded by Jacob Best in Milwaukee in 1844, Pabst Brewing has since relocated its corporate headquarters to Woodridge, Ill., and was recently named Large Brewing Company of the Year in both 2006 and 2007 at the Great American Beer Festival.
About Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.
Founded in 1888 by Louis Glunz I in Chicago, Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. is among the oldest beer distributors in the United States and the recipient of the 2007 “Craft Beer Distributor Achievement Award” from the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association for promoting craft beer and making consumer choice a top priority. The 120-year-old company is family-owned and operated by president, Jack Glunz, the grandson of Louis Glunz I, with day-to-day operations led by five of his and his late wife Patricia’s seven children as members of the fourth generation. The first member of the fifth generation has also joined the staff, with other members working during school breaks. Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. features an extensive portfolio of 665 micro, specialty and import beers from 67 suppliers representing 152 breweries worldwide, and is the premier distributor to restaurants, bars, liquor and grocery stores in Chicagoland. The company is dedicated to quality service and to educating its customers and the public about beer tastes and trends. For more information, visit http://www.glunzbeers.com/