Anyone who knows me well knows my affection for documentary films. Almost every weekend I can be found combing through Netflix to find something new to learn. Just recently a 2011 documentary titled “Ken Burns: Prohibition” caught my eye.
The documentary discusses the social history surrounding one of the most impactful events in the history of the United States alcohol beverage industry.
Although Prohibition is a fascinating topic in itself, I found myself most intrigued by the immensity of the spirits and beer markets before the law went into effect. Pre-Prohibition, the alcohol beverage industry was the fifth largest industry in the United States, and taxes on alcohol beverages accounted for approximately 70 percent of the government’s income at the time, according to the film.
According to Pabst Brewing Co. website, the company was producing 2 million barrels a year, just years before prohibition went into law. The company also is known to have been the first to offer brewery tours, again just before Prohibition laws went into effect, according to its website.
It’s no wonder why brewers might be interested in looking to their thriving histories. Recently, Pabst announced that it will open a new brewery on the site of the original Pabst Brewery, which was founded in 1844 in Milwaukee.
In addition to the resurrection of its Milwaukee brewery, the company will bring back several of its pre-prohibition brands and intends to brew new craft beers inspired by recipes from the Pabst archives, which will only be available on-site. It also will continue its brewery tour tradition.
Pabst is breaking out from the pack by brewing its original beers. Many consumers are interested in what these beers must have been like, which can make this a successful venture for Pabst.