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    

Antique Adv." Schlitz Beer " Pre Prohibition " Pocket Match Safe Vesta 1800,sVintage Schlitz Beer Tin Sign, Advertising, Great Graphics, Beer Bottle & GlassVintage 1957 Schlitz Schlitzerland Beer Bar Sign Advertising New Old Stock!Three Brewery / Beer Matchsafes From Milwaukee € Original 1982 The Who With The Clash At The Coliseum Schlitz Rocks AmericaVintage 1970 Schlitz Lady On Globe Beer Keg Topper Knob Tap Handle Cone Top Beer Can Schlitz1971 Schlitz Beer Sign Lamp Bar Sign Golden Series Light Lady Sconce VintageVintage Schlitz Beer Cork Screw Old Corkscrew Advertising W Half Globe Schlitz Tap Knob & Original Box - Part # 85509 - Milwaukee Wisconsin1965 Vintage Schlitz Lighted Bar Caddy Napkin Straw Holder No Reserve! 2 Vintage Skelly Supreme Motor Oil Tin Cans With Schlitz BottomVintage 1959 7inch Schlitz Beer Tap HandleSchlitz Electric SignVintage Schlitz Lady On World Globe Tap HandleVintage Schlitz Can Opener Unique1955 Schlitz Beer Advertising Sign Tavern Cash Register Clock In Box Light UpVintage Schlitz Beer Wooden Tap Handle Knob Draw Beer Keg Tapper VgcVtg. Schlitz On Draught Lady On Globe Tiffany Style Light 1971 Beautiful Works!1960 Schlitz Beer 10oz. Flat Top Drinking Can Inside Can (nice+)Lionel Ho Schlitz Beer Reefer Car MibVintage 1971 Jos Schlitz Brewing Co Beer Tin Metal Tray Milwaukee Wisc Bar16mm Tv Commercial 60 Sec B/w Schlitz In Pop Top Bottles 2 Vintage Empty 12 Oz Schlitz Beer Bottles - Long Neck & Short Bottle (1960's) Schlitz Rare World Globe Embossed Metal Tin Beer Bar Sign Schlitz Beer Delivery Guy Shirt Dickies Xl ! ! ! ! !Unused Vintage Glass Schlitz Beer Bottle Salt & Pepper Shakers & Used Fish Lure16mm B/w Commercial / 30 Second Schlitz Beer 1963 Gusto In A Great Beer No 2 1960's? Yes Sir! I'm A Candidate Honorary Member Schlitz Brown Beer Bottle 4"celBeer Commercials Plus Blatz Schlitz Genessee Busch Hamm’s Simon Miller Stag VhsSchlitz Beer True Vintage T-shirt. Retro 60's/70's. Never Worn! Collectable!Schlitz Brewing, 125th Anniversary Commemorative SteinVintage Zippo Lighters Nib 1962 "schlitz" ~beer "rare"~un-lite~ 100% Mint In BoxVtg 1977 Lighted Working Two Sided Large Shlitz Baroque Round Beer Sign UnusualLionel 6-9851 - Schlitz Beer Reefer Car (1970s) W/ BoxLionel Schlitz Beer O Scale Box Car #9851 Very Nice ConditionHo Scale 1:87 Schlitz Beer - Unique Customized Classic Metal Works VehicleCollectible Antique Vintage Schlitz Beer Tap Handle Knob Threaded ~ Dated 19644 Vintage Heavy Goblet Stemmed Beer Glasses - Budweiser Busch Hamms Schlitz Old Milwaukee Belt Schlitz Brewing Leather Buckle AwesomeAntique Vtg Schlitz Beer Bottle Theo Schlulte Racine Wisconsin W/ Blob Top GreenVintage Schlitz For Great Occasions Beer Metal TrayBottle Caps Beer Usa Unused Bottle Cap Beer Jos Schlitz 2x Set-4Original Unused 14 X 4 Inch Schlitz "go For It!" Beer Bumper Sticker T-troveMilwaukee Club 12oz Cone Top Beer Can Schlitz WisconsinVintage 1950’s Old Milwaukee-jos Schlitz Brewing Co Flat Top Steel CanSchlitz "the Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous" Flared Drinking Glass VintageBottle Caps Beer Usa Unused Bottle Cap Beer Jos Schlitz 2x Set-2Schlitz Cynthia Myers Rare Braless Vintage Collectible Man Cave Bar Beer PosterRare Schlitz Sign (light)Vintage Schlitz Beer Gold Globe Bar Mirror Sign Man CaveSchlitz Beer Lighted Globe W/lady Wall Sconce LampOriginal Photo 1950's~10 X 8~air View~schlitz~schlitz Brewing Co.~van Nuys, CaVintage Schlitz Beer Pin Pinback Button Irish I Had A Schlitz Shamrock CloverVintage Plastic Schlitz Beer Tap Handle With Golden Globe Milwaukee Wisconsin4 Assorted 7 Oz Beer Drinking Glasses--2 Hamms--miller Genuine Draft--schlitzAssortment Of 25 Schlitz Vintage Beer Cans-milwaukee, WisconsinBottle Caps Beer Usa Used Bottle Cap Beer Jos Schlitz 12x Diff. Great Set !!1983 Nfl Football Guide Team Schedules Schlitz BeerSchlitz Beer Matchbook The Rathskeller Comfort Tx