At the end of the 19th century, Milwaukee was the top beer producing city in the world. Its proximity to grain farms and location on Lake Michigan positioned Milwaukee to not only make beer for themselves, but to ship to nearby Chicago and the rest of the country as well. No city’s economy and identity was hurt more than Milwaukee when Prohibition took effect in 1920.
Carrie Nation, from the Temperance League (the group that initiated Prohibition) is quoted as saying, “If there is any place that is Hell on earth, it is Milwaukee”. Also, opinions during WWI didn’t help the breweries with German names like Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller. In 1918 there were nearly 2,000 saloons in Milwaukee and tens of thousands of people who made their livelihood from the production and sale of beer. By 1921, that was history.
Wisconsin has been rebounding since 1933, and as a state is currently in the top ten for breweries per capita. While there are only a handful of breweries in operation in Milwaukee (including Miller), they make a lot of beer, and the city is ranked third in the US for beer consumption. That’s beer love!
There are a wealth of beer festivals, especially when the weather is warm. From employing Laverne & Shirley to naming their baseball team “The Brewers”, Milwaukee will always be synonymous with beer the world over.