Local effort aims to return Pabst to Milwaukee

CREATED Mar 20, 2014

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MILWAUKEE – Pabst is an iconic company and brand that helped shape the City of Milwaukee, widely known for its contributions to the beer industry.

Though remnants of Pabst’s brewery remain in downtown Milwaukee, the company left town nearly 20 years ago.

In 1996, production halted.  Hundreds of people lost their jobs. ‘Pabst’ was no longer a Milwaukee institution.

18 years later, the current owners of the brand are reportedly looking for a buyer. Thousands of local Pabst supporters believe the City of Milwaukee should step in.

“[It’s]a very expensive order, but the amount of excitement expressed by people so far has just been amazing," explained Susie Seidelman, who is spearheading the effort.

Susie and her friends launched a massive push for support on Facebook.

Within 24 hours, the group had over 1,000 members, including Bridget Byrnes, the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Pabst, the brewery’s founder. Byrnes also designed the group’s website.

So how would this ownership work?

Much like Packers fans own a stake in their team, Seidelman tells TODAY’S TMJ4 Pabst lovers would be able to purchase shares and tie the brand back to ‘Brew City.’

“That's what we're pushing for is community ownership, so that the funding can go back into the city," she explained.

Jim Haertel spent his retirement money saving most of the old brewery.  He believes the idea's worth a shot. He tells our Cody Holyoke he would even change plans for development if Pabst executives wanted to move back into their old Milwaukee offices.

"Someone's going to end up owning [the brand],”Haertel said. “Why not some of the people from Milwaukee?"

No word yet from city leaders or the company's current owners. That's not going to stop fans from trying.

"Milwaukee is as much a part of Pabst than anything else,” Seidelman explained. “To see that business come home would just be incredible poetic justice."