If Schlitz is “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous,” as one of its oldest slogans proclaimed, then Milwaukee is the city that always had a soft spot in its heart for the 19th-century lager. To the world, Schlitz was hyped for its Gusto, quality ingredients, and extraordinary sales—as recently as 1976, Schlitz was the second-best-selling beer in America. But in Milwaukee, Schlitz was a beer taken seriously by serious Milwaukee beer drinkers, which, if you’ve been to Milwaukee, is high praise indeed.

The roots of this storied beer date to 1850, when a young Joseph Schlitz worked as a bookkeeper for August Krug, who owned a tavern brewery at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets. Small breweries were common in the 1800s thanks to a lack of refrigeration, which kept production local. Thus, by 1853, it was enough to brew 300 barrels of beer a year.

When Krug passed away in 1856, Schlitz took over the brewery, married Krug’s widow, and eventually named the company after himself. By 1859, output had reached 2,000 barrels a year, and by 1902 it had crested at one million, making Schlitz the largest brewery in the world.

For collectors of beer cans and bottles, two Schlitz innovations are of particular interest. The first was its introduction of a brown bottle in 1911, which prevented light from spoiling the beverage inside. The second was the “pop top” can, which appeared in 1963.

Other items prized by Schlitz collectors and fans are signs featuring the company’s trademark “Belted Globe” logo. Some of these revolving electric globes, which are largely blue, have brackets so they can be mounted on a tavern wall—collectors have long known that they look just as good in a family rec room. Others were flatter in profile so that they could be placed where less-obtrusive signage was required.

And then there were the hanging vintage Schlitz lights from the 1950s and ’60s. Shaped like buoys or fishing floats, whose red, yellow, and aqua bottoms were paired with white tops, these lights hung from curved poles that were strapped together where the fixture met the wall. It was a simple and graphic design that fit in perfectly with the Mid-century Modern look that was sweeping the nation.

Other items of interest to collectors include Lionel boxcars with the Schlitz logo on their sides, beer tap knobs, and clocks, which ranged from ornate, gilt-metal timepieces with Roman numeral faces to simple cash-register clocks that quickly communicated the Schlitz brand and hour of the day...

In 1982, Stroh's of Detroit acquired Schlitz and in 1999 Pabst decided to try its hand at running the brand. For a while, the beer was only available in cans, but in 2008 it was once again being bottled in traditional brown glass.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Red Fox Chapter

Red Fox Chapter

The guys at the Connecticut Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America have created a full-on tribute to t… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

British Beer Labels

British Beer Labels

This pre-1965 collection is organized alphabetically by brand and contains scans of seemingly thousands of beautif… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Bock Beer Labels

Bock Beer Labels

A quick tour of pre-Prohibition bock beer label designs with nice, high resolution scans. Do the whole slide show o… [read review or visit site]

Trappist Beers and Monks

Trappist Beers and Monks

An interesting site dedicated to Trappist beers and the history of the development of beer brewed by Trappist Bened… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1959~schlitz Beer~ice Cold~old Lighted Electric Motion Advertising Sign~42"x12"~Schlitz Lager Fbir Flat Bottom Inverted Rib Cone Top Milwaukee Wi Cap SealedSchlitz Beer Withdrawn Free Flat Top Vintage Large 1962 Schlitz On Draught Electric Beer Barrel Hanging LightSchlitz Lager Beer Irtp Flat Bottom Cone TopVintage Schlitz Lighted Beer Advertising Bar Sign Golden Series Lady Sconce LampAmazing Condition Schlitz Cone Top - Milwaukee, Wi - No Reserve!Schlitz Beer Sign 1977Schlitz 12oz Pull Ring Pull Tab Beer Can Test Can Brown Background1940-50's Schlitz Beer Metal Cooler & Bottle Opener Exc Condition MilwaukeeSchlitz 16oz Pull Ring Pull Tab Beer Can Missing Cities Test Can Black On White1955 Schlitz Beer Clock And Bar Light The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous WorksSchlitz Beer Poster Metal Tin Signs Plate Man Cave Pub Bar Wall Decor No749Tyco Schlitz Beer 40' Wood Reefer Billboard Car Train Ho ScaleLionel 'o' 9851 Schlitz Reefer Car(5) Vintage Schlitz Beer Stemmed Goblets Thumbprint Beer Glasses 14 OunceVintage Rare Schlitz Beer Logo Alum Ice Chest Schlitznic Cooler Cronstroms MfgSchlitz Beer Ball Tap Handle Milwaukee Wis. Property Jos. Schlitz Brw'g Co.Vintage 70s Ui-maikai Schlitz Beer Gusto All Over Print Surf Hawaiian Shirt Mm12 Diff 16oz,12oz Can Sheetsturborg,munich,pabst,schlitz,schaefer,narragansettSchlitz Beer SignSchlitz 16oz Flat Top Beer Can Schlitz 1960 Easy Opening Softop Logo & LidSchlitz Light 12oz Pull Ring Pull Tab Beer Can Schlitz Test CanRare (nos) Baroque Ribbon Style Schlitz Beer Sign. New Old Stock 4 Foot LongVail Light Pilsner 12oz Pull Ring Pull Tab Beer Can Schlitz Test Can 48 Calorie1976 Schlitz Beale St. Memphis Music Heritage Festival Poster Vintage Jamison Fishing Lure Schlitz Beer Mint In Box9 Diff 16oz,12oz Beer Can Sheets Colt 45,jax,black Label,miller,pabst,schlitz Coin Collection Lot Schlitz Beer Box- Proof, Bu, Ancient, Diamond, CollectiblesBurgermeister Draft Beer Pull Tab - Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CalifBeer Tap Handle Schlitz 1960'sVintage1960s Milwaukee Schlitz Brewery Pilsener Beer Glasses Set Of 6Mens Schlitz Beer Sky Blue Western Rockabilly Cowboy Snap Shirt L LargeSchlitz Beer - "frisbee" - No Slip GripSchlitz Beer ClockSchlitz Vintage Bottle OpenerVintage Export Schlitz Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. Milwaukee Wis"repeal Special" Schlitz Beer Label, Irtp, U-permit, Milwaukee, Wi, 1930sTyco Schlitz Beer Urtx Billboard Wood Ice Bunk Reefer Car Ho Scale ModelLighted Vintage Schlitz Beer SignLionel #9851 Schlitz Beer Reefer, Unused15 Vintage Beer Bottle Openers-schlitz, Goebel, Molson Ex, Ov, Labatt's Blue++Vintage Varney Ho Scale Schlitz Beer Reefer Car/ Sharp!Vintage Schlitz Beer Metal Tap Handle 8 Diff10oz,12oz Beer Sheets Schlitz,kappy's,rheingold,goebel,genesee,stag,tecateVtg Flat Top Steel Schlitz Beer Can Kansas Tax Printed On TopSchlitz Beer -- Schlitz --[ 1945 ]..."magazine Ad-- Products"1973 75 76 77 78 79 Baseball Schedules White Sox Lot Of 6 Harry Caray SchlitzSchlitz Cynthia Myers Rare Braless Collectible Vintage Beer Poster Original Vintage Schlitz Beer Rotating Bar Advertising Sign €Vintage Zippo Lighter Schlitz Beer Brewing Bar Tavern Collectible TobaccianaOriginal 1954 Schlitz Beer Flat Top Can Tavern Trove MilwaukeeVintage Schlitz 16oz. Beer Bottle Schlitz ShamrockVtg Anchor Hocking Party Beer Stained Glass Cup Set/2 Schlitz Miller High LifeSchlitz Poster Metal Tin Signs Plate Bar Pub Wall Hanging Decor No732Nice Lot Of 3 Vintage Tin 13" Beer Trays Knickerbocker*schlitz *schaefer Low $$Schlitz 16 Oz. Steel Flat Top Beer Can Vintage 1963 Schlitz Beer Can Opener Bottle Openers Milwaukee Beers Ekco