Schlitz beer is coming back to Chicago

Schlitz beer is coming back to Chicago

There are 9 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Apr 4, 2008, titled Schlitz beer is coming back to Chicago. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Schlitz beer is coming back to Chicago next week in traditional brown bottles, and with its traditional 1960s recipe.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

Bob Skilnik

Joliet, IL

#1 Apr 5, 2008
The story of the rise and fall of Schlitz, especially in Chicago where it held top beer sales position for years, is described in Bob Skilnik's Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago.

The downfall of Schlitz, combined with a bottler's strike at Anheuser-Busch in 1976 allowed Old Style, a sleeper brand that had been in Chicago since the early 1900s, to take over the Chicagoland beer market. OS distributors took their battle for supremacy to neighborhood taverns, bottle by bottle and case by case until the brand dominated more than 40% of the local beer market.

The problems of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company were brought upon themselves and a board of directors who refused to acknowledge their production mistakes, the sudden death of Bob Uihlein, Jr., and no real leader to take over the business when Bob died.

At one point, G. Heileman and owner Russ Cleary were poised to buy Schlitz when the Uihlein family-dominated board of directors decided to end it all and sell. At the last minute, the Justice Department stopped the sale, claiming an unfair dominance of the market with the merger. It was a sham of a claim since the combination of G. Heileman and Schlitz would have held about 16% of the national market while Anheuser-Busch already held around 27%.

From Wall Street down through the brewing industry itself, the merger was considered to be a life saver for Schlitz and a boost to G. Heileman which was trying to shed the mantle of being just a regional brewery. The feds thought otherwise.

Stroh eventually brought Schlitz but the merger was a disaster. After the family-owned Stroh gave up in 1999, the Schlitz label went to Pabst.

What most beer drinkers don't realize is that while Pabst owns the label, they actually don't own any breweries. Their portfolio of once proud regional brands are now brewed by Miller.

I realy hope they bring back the original formula and make the brand available again as a draft, bottled and canned product. After Stroh closed, you could only get canned Schlitz beer, which dried up a lot of draft accounts in Chicago. It was a staple at Southport Lanes, for instance

The problem now is, how do you reposition Schlitz as a premium or super-premium beer? It's had no advertising budget, no media exposure, no nothing for years, just a reputation as a cheap beer. The trick will be to be able to convince young beer drinkers that Schlitz is once again a quality product and worth every penny. I imagine it will be priced somewhere between a higher-priced craft beer and a great quality pseudo-craft beer like Blue Moon.

Chicago was it's number 1 market. It might have been the beer that made Milwaukee famous, but it was Chicago beer drinkers who really made it so.

Houston, TX

#2 Apr 5, 2008
I remember drinkink schlitz in Alaska 30 some od years ago and it was a decent beer by todays standards but blue moon is a good beer too, considering I now have ulcers and I don't feel bad after a bottle or 2 like Bud does to me.
The problem for schlitz is all the excellant craft beers on the market and tastes have changed, so the question really is does the consumer really need another cookie cutter cheap beer, after all there are about a dozen cheap no flavor just get drunk beers out there already.

Michigan City, IN

#3 Apr 5, 2008
Good! I've had it a few times, used to be able to get it in bottles when I lived in Des Moines. Nothing special of course, but not a bad beer if you just want something simple and cold on a hot day. It's better than most cheap beers, including Pabst or Old Style. For the price, it is also better than Bud - which to me, is one of the most overrated beers I've ever had.

Bring on the Schlitz!
Dirk Murdoch

Addison, TX

#4 May 5, 2008
I am looking forward to tasting the original 1960 recipe! Schlitz was once a great beer, and could be again if most of America opened it's eyes to something other than Miller Lite, Coors Light, and the worst tepid tap water tasting beers of them all - Bud Light!! The only beer you can pour without any foam!!

Mclean, VA

#6 Jun 8, 2008
I am drinking a canned Schlitz as I type this. The Giant Food chain in the Washington DC area sold it, but it looks like that's history because they have a "discontinued" sign above it. I bought the last three six packs in that store.
ThatsTheWayItGoe s

Lake Worth, FL

#7 Jun 8, 2008
I cant wait for schlitz to come back. I love there beer.
Joe P

Dekalb, IL

#9 Oct 9, 2008
Schlitz has a person legacy in my family. My grandfather in Rockford, IL was the largest Schlitz distributor throughout the 60's and 70's. Essentially, Schlitz made it possible for my mother to have food on the table when she was a kid. All of the heirlooms I inherit are Schlitz salt and pepper shakers, steins, etc. I'm thrilled that they are bringing back the old recipe. It would make my grand-dad, old "Lenny Schlitz" proud.

Minster, OH

#10 Feb 12, 2009
found these forums cuz i'm looking for Schlitz in bottles. my brother absolutley loves this beer. he lives in maryland...i live in ohip. anyone know where i can get bottled schlitz?

Holly Springs, NC

#11 Apr 10, 2011
schlitz has returned to north carolina!!!

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