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In the late 19th Century, the brewing business was heating up with ruthless price cutting to the point where the breweries were losing great sums of money. Brewers would offer great prices to a tavern owner in exchange for the exclusive sale of that brewer's project. The exclusivity would last until another brewer came in and offered a lower price for the exclusive sale of his product.
To overcome this, brewers began buying taverns and hiring the former owners to run them. Newer and fancier taverns were built by the breweries. Called "tied houses," the taverns sold only that brewery's products.
At one point, Schlitz owned over 2,000 tied houses, Pabst owned at least 1,000 while smaller breweries, such as Blatz and Miller, owned even fewer.
The ownership of taverns by breweries became illegal in 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment and the repeal of the Volstead Act.
Pabst Brewery Saloon
(Milwaukee County, Wisconsin)Former Pabst Brewing Company "Tied House" now serving as a Baptist Church
(Racine County, Wisconsin)Queen Anne style restaurant/tavern that was once a Pabst tied house
(Dane County, Wisconsin)Originally a Pabst Brewing Company "Tied House"