Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI

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Miller BrewingCompany

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly,copyright 1996

Last Revised 08/16/2015

MILLER, Frederick, who was one of Milwaukee’s prominent brewers, wasborn in Reidlingen, Würtemberg, November 24th, 1824. His father, ThaddeusMiller, was a merchant and a representative of a German family that for fourhundred years had been prominent in the mercantile class and noted for theirwealth and education. He had been a man of large means, much of which he hadinherited form his parents. By speculation in coffee, tea and woolen goods,based upon Napoleon’s success or defeat, he lost most of his fortune. His estatewas valued at from $75,000 to $100,000 when he died. Louise Miller, Frederick’smother, was of German nationality and a woman of strong character. Frederick waseducated in Germany until he was fourteen years of age, when he went to Franceand studied there seven years, acquiring a speaking knowledge of the English,French and Latin languages. After completing his studies he made a tour ofFrance, Algiers, Africa, Italy and Switzerland. He had intended to take up thefamily occupation of merchant, but on his way home he stopped for a vacationwith an uncle who was a brewer, and took such a liking for the business that hedetermined to enter it himself. He, therefore, became a student of the businesswith his uncle; and after thoroughly learning it in all its departments, hetraveled through parts of Germany for study and observation with especialreference to the occupation which he proposed to follow. He finally leased theRoyal brewery at Siegmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany, and operated it for atime. This did not, however, fill his ambition; and, in 1854, he sold out hislease and sailed for New York; stopping with friends for a year, and makingexcursions to and through different parts of the country by lake and riversteamers, an finally decided to settle in Wisconsin, as most resembling hisnative land. Coming to Wisconsin in 1855, he located where the brewery nowstands, buying the plant that had been established there by Best & Brothersfor $8,000 cash.

Mr. Miller was married to Elizabeth Gross in 1860, andfive children were born of this marriage, Earnest G., Fred. A., Clara A., wifeof Charles A. Miller of the Milwaukee Lumber company, Emil P. and Elise K.Miller.

Mr. Miller did June 11th, 1888, at the age of sixty-threeyears and six months.

Miller Brewing Company


The second-largest U.S. brewer, Miller is responsible for a whole lot ofcheap beer, sold at varying prices under their own name, and as the Plank RoadBrewery.

Miller is affiliated with Molson, and owns their U.S. branch. Web sitesinclude:

Molson Ice

(U.S.)Molson Online

(also, corporateinformation and Brewmaster’sCircle).Cyberblack

(Carling BlackLabel)

History: Charles Best (see

Pabst)opened the Plank Road Brewery in 1850. Frederick Miller purchased the breweryin 1853, but the name remained until Frederick Miller’s death in 1888. Thelast Miller family stock was purchased by Philip Morris in 1969 [Apps].

Miller. [?]-.

This new beer, apparently replacing High Life, is a triumph of recentbrewing. Ignore the “full body” talk in the advertising — Miller hassucceeded in producing a beer with less taste than seltzer water.

High Life.

Since 1906.

Lite. [?], WWW.

Originally Meister Bräu Lite. See also typically womanizing beeradvertisement from wuarchive.


Meister Bräu.

Milwaukee’s Best. [?].

History: In 1855, George Schweickhart purchased the beginnings of abrewery in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, after both of its founders died of choleraand named it the Menomonee Brewing Co. In 1874, Schweickhart sold the breweryto C. Schuckerman who later sold to Adam Gettelman, who was married toSchweickhart’s daughter. The brewery became the A. Gettelman Brewing Co. in1887. After prohibition, the brewery continued until it was purchased byMiller in 1971. Well-known brands included Milwaukee’s Best, Milwaukee Lager,$1000 Natural Process (named after Gettelman’s cash offer to anyone who couldprove his beer had ingredients other than malt and hops), Rathskeller Brew, 5O’Clock, University Club, and Stein Brew [Apps206-207].

Miller Genuine Draft. [*], GIF, WWW.

Not the world’s best selling beer, but probably the world’s most-advertisedbeer.

The American Specialty & Craft Beer Company is Miller’s subsidiaryfor recently-acquired breweries:

Celis. [****]+. WWW.

Miller now owns a major share of this Texas brewery. More information isavailable in the Southern Draft Beer Newsand the Celebrator Beer News.

Leinenkugel’s. [****]. WWW.

“Made with Chippewa Water from the Big Eddy Springs.”
Made, surprisingly enough, by the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. inChippewa Falls, Wisconsin. An excellent choice for a cheap lager. In additionto the classic deposit-bottle choice, other varieties include Bock, Winter,Limited Lager, and Red, as well as an Ice and a Light. A Honey Weiss is newfor Summer 1995, but really isn’t that good. See Leinie’s website for recent introductions and name changes to the product line.Since being purchased by Miller in 1988, their production has been increased,but the beer is still good, and family members are still involved with thecompany.

History: Jacob Leinenkugel’s father and brothers operated a brewery inSauk City. In 1867, Leinenkugel and John Miller opened the Spring Brewery inChippewa Falls. Miller sold his interest in 1883, and the company continuedunder a string of Leinenkugel family members until it was sold to Miller. Fromthe beginning of Prohibition until the end of World War II, Leinenkugelproduced near beer and soda [Kroll].

Shipyard. WWW.

A Portland, Maine microbrewery.

The Plank Road Brewery division of Miller produces up-market low-tastebeers:

Icehouse. [?].

Up market, low taste, etc.

Northstone Amber [**].

More of an attempt to appeal to the micro-market than the earlier PlankRoad beers, this June 1996 introduction has a noticeable aromatic hoppiness,but regrettably little malt character. Quite possibly all malt. Northstonecompares well with many of the cheap beer standards like Augsburger orBerghoff, but isn’t worth the extra money.

Red Dog. WWW.

Another up-market product from Plank Road, reportedly first sold by Molsonin Canada. Onalaska Brewing Co., makers of Red Dawg, may been negotiating withMiller for use of the name, but is now supported by Anheuser-Busch in alawsuit against Miller. Coincidentally, Busch is cashing in on the trend inRed-named beers with both Red Wolf and Elk Mountain Red.

In 1892, the Flemish Renaissance Mansion of Captain Frederick Pabst wasfinished, and was considered the jewel of Milwaukee’s famous avenue of mansionscalled the Grand Avenue. At the time of its completion Captain Pabst was 57years old and was an accomplished sea captain, beer baron, real estatedeveloper, philanthropist and patron of the arts. The Pabst Mansion is atestament to his success, his love of life and his German heritage. Boasting 37rooms, 12 baths and 14 fireplaces, the Mansion helped make the 1890’s the”Pabst Decade” in Milwaukee.

check for links


bought G.Heilemanin February 1996 for about $275 million. The combined company will have aboutten percent of the US beer market, similar in size to Coors,the country’s third-largest brewer.

Other Reference Sources: AmericanBreweries II by Dale P. Van Wieren; The Register of United StatesBreweries 1876-1976, Vol. I & II, by Manfred Friedrich & DonaldBull; The Pabst Brewing Company – The History of an American Brewer byThomas C. Cochran; Breweries of Wisconsin by Jerry Apps; BadgerBreweries: Past & Present by Wayne L. Kroll.; Men of Progress.Wisconsin. (pages 115-149) A selected list of biographical sketches andportraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life. Togetherwith short notes on the history and character of Wisconsin.