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WISCONSIN’S BREWING INDUSTRY

In 1840 a Welsh immigrant brewed Wisconsin’s first beer in a lakefront brewery in Milwaukee. By the Civil War many small breweries were satisfying the thirst of the state’s immigrants for the new lager beer. After 1870 Milwaukee’s breweries entered the Chicago and national markets; through advancing technology and extensive promotion they made Milwaukee the beer capital of the world. Smaller local bewares served most Wisconsin communities by 1900.

After Prohibition (1920-1933) the state’s breweries soon regained national preeminence in quality and quantity. Today Milwaukee’s big three — Pabst (1844), Jos. Schlitz (1849), and Miller (1855) — and Joseph Huber (Monroe, 1848), G. Heilema (LaCrosse, 1850), Jacob Leinenkugel (Chippewa Falls, 1867), Walter (Eau Claire, 1889), and Steven’s Point (1904), continue the state’s great brewing traditions, producing 15 per cent of the nation’s beer, employing nearly 6000, and paying $11,000,0000 in state and local taxes.

Wisconsinites lead the U.S. in per capita beer consumption while enjoying the gemüetlichkeit of their neighborhood taverns.

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    wiping a proud tear
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    And despite five of the nine beers “Americans no longer drink” being from Milwaukee-based breweries (I’m including...
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