About Wisconsin Beer
Wisconsin first started brewing beer in the 1830’s, and by 1890 almost every community had at least one operating brewery. The first recognized brewery in the state was Owens Brewery which was opened in 1840; however, there is evidence that a brewery in Mineral Point and one in Elk Grove were operating before the 1840’s. By 1860 there were close to 200 breweries in Wisconsin with 40+ in Milwaukee.
Breweries were hit hard by Prohibition in 1919, as many closed. Other breweries adapted by producing soda, ice, cream, cheese and near beer to survive. Once prohibition was repealed, Schlitz, Pabst, Blatz and Miller went full steam ahead. Unfortunately the 1950’s-1980 saw consolidation of the brewing industry. In the mid-80’s Wisconsin saw its first craft beers emerge. Since then the state has seen continued growth with 20+ breweries operating in ‘Brew City’ aka Milwaukee.