Pabst to operate beer garden at Wisconsin State Fair

Brand returns to fairgrounds for first time since Pabst closed Milwaukee brewery in 1996

Wisconsin State Fair Park
Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:24 pm

Pabst Brewing Company will operate a beer garden at the Wisconsin State Fair, the company announced Wednesday.

Wisconsin State Fair Park (2)

The Pabst brand has been absent from the fairgrounds since the company closed its Milwaukee brewery in 1996. The company is now based in Los Angeles and outsources the production of its beers.

The beer garden at State Fair will be called “Slim’s PBR Park,” bearing the nickname of State Fair Operator R.J. “Slim” McGinn, who worked with Pabst to develop plans for the beer garden, and will be located on the fairgrounds at 1st and Badger Avenue.

The return to state fair comes as Pabst prepares to create a small micro-brewery operation into the old German Methodist church on the grounds of its original brewery on the west side of downtown Milwaukee. The company announced it would open the small brewery and tasting room last summer.

The micro-brewery will make old pre-prohibition recipes owned by Pabst such as its Old Tankard Ale, Kloster Beer, Bock and Andecker, and will also use recipes from the Pabst archives to create new craft beers. It is expected to open in early 2017, according to company chairman Eugene Kashper, who partnered with a San Francisco-based investment fund to purchased the company in 2014.

That project underscores the company’s renewed interest in the Milwaukee area since Kashper took over.

“The launch of this brewery in Pabst’s original home represents a long-awaited return to our roots,” Kashper said in 2015 while announcing plans for the micro-brewery. “Milwaukee is our home. The Pabst Mansion, the Pabst Theater, Pabst Farms, and this beautiful brewery complex, these are all part of Frederick Pabst’s amazing legacy, which we are honored to continue by returning to our hometown and birthplace.”

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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