When I was a teenager, one of our fads was to use a beer tap handle on our car's gearshift lever. Mine said "Schlitz."
That wasn't nostalgic at the time. Schlitz, which called itself "The beer that made Milwaukee famous," was the top-selling beer for much of the first six decades of the 20th Century. In the latter half, some bad business decisions and some tinkering with the recipe spelled disaster for the taste and, ultimately, the brand.
Pabst Brewing Co., which bought the rights to the Schlitz name and original recipe from Stroh's in 1999, is trying for a comeback of the once-icon beer, using the old formula and lots of tips from former brewmasters.
"We believe that Schlitz is, if not 'the,' one of the most iconic brands of the 20th century," Pabst President Kevin Kotecki told the Associated Press. "And there's still a lot of people who have very positive, residual memories about their experience. For many of them it was the first beer they drank and we wanted to give it back to those consumers."
So far, local consumer reaction is strong. Many Milwaukee area stores have sold out of Schlitz, and some are limiting purchases.
For a bit more on the history of Schlitz, go here.
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