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Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles


Local History Index - Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles

Miller Brewing Company

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly, copyright 1996

Last Revised 01/11/2016

MILLER, Frederick, who was one of Milwaukee's prominent brewers, was born in Reidlingen, Würtemberg, November 24th, 1824. His father, Thaddeus Miller, was a merchant and a representative of a German family that for four hundred years had been prominent in the mercantile class and noted for their wealth and education. He had been a man of large means, much of which he had inherited 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 estate was valued at from $75,000 to $100,000 when he died. Louise Miller, Frederick's mother, was of German nationality and a woman of strong character. Frederick was educated in Germany until he was fourteen years of age, when he went to France and studied there seven years, acquiring a speaking knowledge of the English, French and Latin languages. After completing his studies he made a tour of France, Algiers, Africa, Italy and Switzerland. He had intended to take up the family occupation of merchant, but on his way home he stopped for a vacation with an uncle who was a brewer, and took such a liking for the business that he determined to enter it himself. He, therefore, became a student of the business with his uncle; and after thoroughly learning it in all its departments, he traveled through parts of Germany for study and observation with especial reference to the occupation which he proposed to follow. He finally leased the Royal brewery at Siegmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany, and operated it for a time. This did not, however, fill his ambition; and, in 1854, he sold out his lease and sailed for New York; stopping with friends for a year, and making excursions to and through different parts of the country by lake and river steamers, an finally decided to settle in Wisconsin, as most resembling his native land. Coming to Wisconsin in 1855, he located where the brewery now stands, buying the plant that had been established there by Best & Brothers for $8,000 cash. 

    Mr. Miller was married to Elizabeth Gross in 1860, and five children were born of this marriage, Earnest G., Fred. A., Clara A., wife of 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-three years and six months.

Miller Brewing Company


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

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

Molson Ice (U.S.)

Molson Online (also, corporate information and Brewmaster's Circle).

Cyberblack (Carling Black Label)

History: Charles Best (see Pabst) opened the Plank Road Brewery in 1850. Frederick Miller purchased the brewery in 1853, but the name remained until Frederick Miller's death in 1888. The last Miller family stock was purchased by Philip Morris in 1969 [Apps].

Miller. [?]-.

This new beer, apparently replacing High Life, is a triumph of recent brewing. Ignore the ``full body'' talk in the advertising -- Miller has succeeded in producing a beer with less taste than seltzer water.

High Life.

Since 1906.

Lite. [?], WWW.

Originally Meister Bräu Lite. See also typically womanizing beer advertisement from wuarchive.


Meister Bräu.

Milwaukee's Best. [?].

History: In 1855, George Schweickhart purchased the beginnings of a brewery in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, after both of its founders died of cholera and named it the Menomonee Brewing Co. In 1874, Schweickhart sold the brewery to C. Schuckerman who later sold to Adam Gettelman, who was married to Schweickhart's daughter. The brewery became the A. Gettelman Brewing Co. in 1887. After prohibition, the brewery continued until it was purchased by Miller in 1971. Well-known brands included Milwaukee's Best, Milwaukee Lager, $1000 Natural Process (named after Gettelman's cash offer to anyone who could prove his beer had ingredients other than malt and hops), Rathskeller Brew, 5 O'Clock, University Club, and Stein Brew [Apps 206-207].

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

Not the world's best selling beer, but probably the world's most-advertised beer.

The American Specialty & Craft Beer Company is Miller's subsidiary for recently-acquired breweries:

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

Miller now owns a major share of this Texas brewery. More information is available in the Southern Draft Beer News and 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. in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. An excellent choice for a cheap lager. In addition to 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 new for Summer 1995, but really isn't that good. See Leinie's web site 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 the company.

History: Jacob Leinenkugel's father and brothers operated a brewery in Sauk City. In 1867, Leinenkugel and John Miller opened the Spring Brewery in Chippewa Falls. Miller sold his interest in 1883, and the company continued under a string of Leinenkugel family members until it was sold to Miller. From the beginning of Prohibition until the end of World War II, Leinenkugel produced near beer and soda [Kroll].

Shipyard. WWW.

A Portland, Maine microbrewery.

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

Icehouse. [?].

Up market, low taste, etc.

Northstone Amber [**].

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

Red Dog. WWW.

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

In 1892, the Flemish Renaissance Mansion of Captain Frederick Pabst was finished, and was considered the jewel of Milwaukee's famous avenue of mansions called the Grand Avenue. At the time of its completion Captain Pabst was 57 years old and was an accomplished sea captain, beer baron, real estate developer, philanthropist and patron of the arts. The Pabst Mansion is a testament to his success, his love of life and his German heritage. Boasting 37 rooms, 12 baths and 14 fireplaces, the Mansion helped make the 1890's the "Pabst Decade" in Milwaukee. check for links

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


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


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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)