Blatz Brewery Complex

1101--1147 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I'm from Milwaukee, and I ought to know!

Photos 

Overview Looking Northwest

Main brewhouse and refrigerated warenouse.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2014

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Map 

Description 

I'm from Milwaukee, and I ought to know
It's draft-brewed Blatz Beer, where ever you go!
Smoother, fresher, less filling that's clear,
Blatz is Milwaukee's Finest Beer!

So went the advertising jingle for one of the Big Four beers brewed in Beer City. (Schlitz, Pabst, Miller and of course, Blatz.) At one time, the four breweries were listed in the top ten breweries in the world. Milwaukee gained its reputation as the beer capitol of the world thanks to beer barons like Valentin Blatz, Joseph Schlitz, Frederick Miller and Captain Frederick Pabst, with a nod to Jacob Best.

Milwaukee has been home to 40 breweries over the years and even though Miller is the only one of the Big Four still brewing beer in Milwaukee, several popular microbreweries and brew pubs continue the brewing tradition in Milwaukee.

Valentin Blatz (October 1, 1826 – May 26, 1894) was a German-American, born in Miltenberg, Bavaria and as a young man, learned the brewing business by working in his father's brewery. In 1849, he moved to Milwaukee and a year later established a brewery next to Johann Braun's City Brewery. When Braun passed away in 1852, Blatz acquired the brewery and merged it into his and he also married Braun's widow. (This was a recurring theme in Milwaukee brewing history!)

Blatz was the first Milwaukee brewer to bottle beer, in 1874. The Blatz claim to fame was brewing only one beer for for draught, bottles and cans. This was the main Blatz marketing theme for years.

Valentin Blatz died in St. Paul, Minnesota on his way back from California. He is buried in an imposing mausoleum in Milwaukee's Forest Home Cemetery along with the other Milwaukee beer barons.

In 1958, Blatz was acquired by Pabst, then the tenth largest brewer in the country. The sale was voided by the government in 1959 and the brewery closed. The label was reacquired by Pabst, and through mergers and sales over the years, Blatz is today brewed by Miller.

Today, the remnants of the Blatz Brewery still serve the area as part of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, office space for business and now parts are being converted to living space.

After all, I'm from Milwaukee, and I ought to know!

Burt Lahr Helps Sell Blatz Beer 

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 15, 1986
Reference number
86000793
Architectural style
Other architectural type; German Renaissance
Areas of significance
Industry; Architecture
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Manufacturing facility
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1891; 1906
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 6
Non-contributing buildings: 3

Update Log 

  • March 26, 2014: Essay added by J.R. Manning

Sources