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 Joseph Schlitz
Cenotaph

Joseph Schlitz

Birth
Mainz, Stadtkreis Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 7 May 1875 (aged 43)
At Sea
Cenotaph Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
Memorial ID 3497 · View Source
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Businessman, Beer magnate. He propelled the tiny Krug brewery of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, into the giant Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. Born in Mainz, Rheinhessen, Germany, he had a fair education with a four-year course in bookkeeping and had already acquired some practical business experience when he arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1850. There he landed a position as bookkeeper for August Krug's brewery and became a valuable asset and close friend. The same year, August Uihlein, age 8, accompanied by his grandfather, Georg Krug, a 68 year old innkeeper from Miltenberg, Bavaria, came to Milwaukee to see his uncle August. The brewery's total production in 1850 was about 250 barrels annually and by 1855 it was up to 1,500. Upon Krug's death in 1856 Schlitz assumed management of the Krug Brewery and in 1858 he married Krug's widow, invested his own savings and changed the name of the company to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. Capable of storing 2,000 barrels in 1858 he had increased production to 5,578 barrels of beer in 1867 when the brewery ranked as the number 4 brewery in Milwaukee behind Valentine Blatz and two others. He enjoyed further success after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when he donated thousands of barrels of beer to that city, which had lost most of its breweries, thereby making Schlitz "the beer that made Milwaukee famous." He quickly opened a distribution point there and began a national expansion. Schlitz returned to visit Germany in 1875 and died when his ship hit a rock near Land's End, England, and sank. He was one of Milwaukee's richest men and his company was brewing almost 70,000 barrels a year. Despite the loss of Schlitz the company remained viable through a lesson he had learned from August Krug's death. Wisely inserted into his will, two provisions ensured the company's health after his passing: one stipulated the business could never remove "Joseph Schlitz" from its name; the other appointed Krug's nephew, the same one Krug brought over from Germany as an eight year old in 1850, to be head of the brewery. Schlitz's choice of then 33 year old August Uihlein couldn't have been better as he, along with his brothers Henry and Edward, continued the business strategies initiated by Schlitz. The company developed a system of agencies across the United States to sell beer, and developed its own vast rail distribution system taking it from tenth largest US brewer in 1877 to third by 1895. Being among the top three breweries was little comfort when prohibition came about. But the company met the challenge as did others, restructuring the brewery as Joseph Schlitz Beverage Co. to produce near beer, yeast, soft drinks, malt syrup and a chocolate candy named "Eline" (a phonetic play on Uihlein). Returning to brewing in 1933, the company moved ahead on expansion plans that led them to second and finally first place in US beer production. For the next 40 the years the company would remain near the top and at one point was ranked as the largest in the world until its purchase by Stroh Brewing of Detroit, Michigan (now owned by Pabst Brewing Co.). The Schlitz name remains prominent even today in Milwaukee through a number of prominent city landmarks in Milwaukee including Schlitz Park, the Schlitz Hotel, and the famous Schlitz Palm Garden that were funded by his brewery.

Bio by: Fred Beisser


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Aug 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3497
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph Schlitz (15 May 1831–7 May 1875), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3497, citing Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .