The beer that made Milwaukee famous is set to try and do it again. Pabst Brewing, who owns the label, re-released Schlitz today in the brown longneck bottles using what they claim is the original recipe. Having had phenomenal success with Pabst and also recently re-released Primo, Pabst is looking to recreate that success with yet another nostalgic beer.
Schlitz used to be one of the most popular beers in America, but bean-counters in charge of the brewery in the late 1960s and ’70s introduced cost-cutting measure to the ingredients and the brewing process that let to floating particles in the beer. Consumer fled the beer in droves. Late in the 1970s Schlitz try to recover, but the damage was done and consumer confidence at nearly zero. In 1982, the Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit bought the brand, and it was later acquired by Pabst, who owns it today. Pabst is the largest contract brewer in the country, with sales of it’s not popular again Pabst catapulting it to the number 4 spot, where it’s been for the past several years.
Currently, it’s only available in the Chicago area, distributed by Louis Glunz Beers. But if successful, expect to see the old Schlitz longneck bottles everywhere again.
From the press release:
Pabst Brewing Company (PBC) is partnering with Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. in Lincolnwood, Ill. to distribute the classic Schlitz formula and has a longstanding and rewarding relationship with the beer distributor, based on Schlitz and other brands within the PBC portfolio.
Founder Louis Glunz I first supplied Schlitz for the 1893 World’s Columbian Expo in Chicago and 40 years later, his eldest son and successor, Louis Glunz II, tapped the first kegs of Schlitz when they arrived by train in Chicago on April 7, 1933. On that date, the Volstead Act was modified allowing the sale of 3.2 percent beer in advance of the ratification of the 21st Amendment which repealed Prohibition. The Brewers Association reports that over 1.5 million barrels of beer was consumed nationwide in the 24-hours following what was the beginning of the end of Prohibition!
Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. has since served as a Schlitz bottler for many years and has continued to distribute Schlitz in spite of the brand’s losing its “Gusto” along the way to keep up with beer trends. General Manager, Jerry Glunz, attributes the steady decline in sales of Schlitz to a changed formula in the mid 1970s and packaging that was converted from a full package line to only cans in 1998. “We’re confident that a return to the original formula and the classic ‘Brown Glass’ longneck bottles will revitalize the Schlitz brand,” said Glunz.
Borrowing a page from their 120-year history, representatives of Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. will deliver the first coveted cases of Schlitz “Classic 1960s Formula” this afternoon from a replica of its original horse-drawn wagon. The route through Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood includes two old Schlitz tied-houses, Schubas Tavern and Southport Lanes & Billiards, as well as Cardinal Liquors, 1000 Liquors, Chicago Brauhaus, Sheffield’s Bar, The Long Room, Simon’s Tavern, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, and Glunz Bavarian Haus. The product will also be available at Louis Glunz’s original shop, since renamed The House of Glunz, at Wells and Division Streets in Chicago’s Old Town.
“Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. introduced Schlitz to Chicago and we’re excited to work with them to re-launch the original formula,” said Brad Hittle, chief marketing officer of Pabst Brewing. “Their heritage with Schlitz is unsurpassed among beer distributors across the country.”
“We are delighted about the comeback of Schlitz, the brand that brought us to the dance,” said Jack Glunz, president of Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. “The ‘Classic 1960s Formula’ is just as we remember from the heydays, a perfect balance between full-flavor and easy drinking with ‘just a kiss of the hops.’ This re-launch is a tribute to my grandfather’s legacy!”
According to Kyle Wortham, senior brand manager for Schlitz, the classic taste profile of Schlitz “Classic 1960s Formula” is the result of research by Pabst Brewmaster, Bob Newman, who was named the 2006 and 2007 Brewmaster of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. “Bob tracked down and interviewed retired Schlitz brewhouse employees and others to recreate the classic taste,” explained Wortham. Mr. Glunz, who also provided access to Schlitz marketing materials in his company’s archives, was among those interviewed.
In addition to a return to the original taste profile, dedicated to those who miss the full-bodied Schlitz as they knew it, Wortham said that the classic formula will feature heritage-inspired packaging and old-school attitude to reinforce the values that resonate with guys who remember the 1960s. A new print and outdoor advertising campaign includes imagery from that era and suggests that the intended drinker go back to a formula from a time when values mattered: “the cars were cooler, the athletes didn’t cheat, and the beer was better.” Marketing support also includes a new website, www.schlitzgusto.com, public relations, and tasting parties.
“Schlitz coined the phrase ‘Go For The Gusto,’ and we intend this campaign to reach beer drinkers where they live and remind them of some of the best times of their lives when even the beer tasted better,” said Wortham. “We’re setting the stage for a significant comeback.”