Updated at: 09-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Are you a fan of Pabst Blue Ribbon and ever wondered where this legendary ale comes from? Pabst Blue Ribbon is an iconic American lager, first brewed in Milwaukee by Jacob Best nearly two centuries ago.

Today’s post is your golden ticket to everything there is to know about the birthplace of this beloved beer.

Let’s pop open the history and journey of Pabst Blue Ribbon brewing!

The History of Pabst Blue Ribbon

Where Is Pabst Blue Ribbon Made

Pabst Blue Ribbon, originally brewed in Milwaukee by Jacob Best almost two centuries ago, gained popularity as a working man’s beer under the leadership of Frederick Pabst from 1860 to 1904.

Brand name

Pabst Blue Ribbon – a brand name entrenched in American brewing history. Known as the beer of the working man, its roots trace back to Milwaukee nearly two hundred years ago where Jacob Best first brewed it.

The moniker “Blue Ribbon” emerged under Frederick Pabst’s leadership from 1860 to 1904. To make his company’s brew stand out, Pabst began threading blue silk ribbons around the necks of “Best Select” beer bottles in 1882.

This clever marketing tactic not only earned distinction but also led to a rebranding of the company — from Best Brewing Company to Pabst Brewing Company in 1889.

With this enduring and universally recognized brand name, Pabst Blue Ribbon has built more than just an identity within the beer market; it’s established a legacy intertwined with urban culture and inclusivity, particularly noted for its association with the LGBTQ community.

Peak, decline, and revival

Pabst Blue Ribbon has had a fascinating journey in the beer industry, going through periods of peak popularity, decline, and ultimately, an impressive revival. Here are some key moments in its history:

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon reached its peak popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it gained a strong following as a working man’s beer. This was a time when American lagers were all the rage.
  • However, like many other legacy beer brands, Pabst Blue Ribbon faced challenges in the later part of the 20th century as tastes shifted towards lighter beers and craft brews. Sales declined, and the brand struggled to maintain its relevance in the highly competitive beer market.
  • Despite these challenges, Pabst Blue Ribbon experienced an unexpected resurgence in popularity during the early 2000s. It became a cultural icon among hipsters and young adults seeking an alternative to mainstream beers.
  • The revival can be attributed to clever marketing strategies that capitalized on nostalgia and positioned Pabst Blue Ribbon as a retro-cool choice. Its association with working-class roots also struck a chord with consumers who valued authenticity.
  • Today, Pabst Blue Ribbon continues to enjoy a loyal following among both traditional beer drinkers and those looking for something different. It remains an important player in the craft beer movement despite being owned by Oasis Beverages.

Where Pabst Blue Ribbon is Made

Where Is Pabst Blue Ribbon Made (2)

Pabst Blue Ribbon is made at the Milwaukee brewery and through various contract brewing arrangements.

The Milwaukee brewery

Pabst Blue Ribbon has deep roots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it was first brewed by Jacob Best almost 200 years ago. The city’s brewing industry thrived during this time, and Pabst quickly became a prominent player in the beer market.

Its iconic headquarters were located on Chestnut Street, with the brewing process taking place at the nearby brewery complex. Known for its lager beer and commitment to brewing excellence, Pabst Blue Ribbon gained popularity as a working man’s beer and eventually added blue ribbons around their “Best Select” beer bottles.

Today, while the company has moved its headquarters to San Antonio, Texas, Milwaukee remains synonymous with the rich history of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Contract brewing arrangements

Pabst Blue Ribbon has become a popular brand among beer enthusiasts, but you might be surprised to learn that the beer is not brewed in just one location. Instead, Pabst Blue Ribbon has contract brewing arrangements with several breweries across the United States.

This means that while the recipe and quality of the beer remain consistent, it can be produced in different facilities.

These contract brewing partnerships allow Pabst Blue Ribbon to meet the high demand for its iconic brew while ensuring that each batch maintains the same great taste.

By working with multiple breweries, Pabst can effectively distribute its beer across the country and satisfy drinkers from coast to coast.

The Current Ownership of Pabst Blue Ribbon

Where Is Pabst Blue Ribbon Made (3)

Pabst Blue Ribbon is currently owned by the Pabst Brewing Company, which acquired the brand after an agreement with MillerCoors and later by Oasis Beverages.

MillerCoors agreement

Pabst Blue Ribbon’s production underwent a significant change with the MillerCoors agreement. In 1999, Pabst Blue Ribbon faced closure due to declining sales and production challenges. To keep the iconic beer alive, Pabst entered into an agreement with MillerCoors to brew its beer at their breweries.

This partnership allowed Pabst Blue Ribbon to continue producing its beloved beer while overcoming manufacturing obstacles. It was a strategic move that ensured the availability of Pabst Blue Ribbon across the United States, preserving this historic brand for generations of beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

Overall, this arrangement has been vital in maintaining the popularity and accessibility of Pabst Blue Ribbon amidst changing market dynamics.

Acquisition by Oasis Beverages

Pabst Blue Ribbon, the beloved beer brand with a rich history, has experienced various ownership changes throughout the years. One significant acquisition occurred when Oasis Beverages took over Pabst Brewing Company in 2014.

This move brought a fresh perspective to Pabst Blue Ribbon and opened up new opportunities for growth.

Oasis Beverages, an international brewing group headquartered in Russia, recognized the potential of Pabst Blue Ribbon and saw it as an iconic American brand worth investing in. The acquisition allowed Oasis Beverages to expand its presence in the United States and tap into the booming craft beer market.


In conclusion, Pabst Blue Ribbon is proudly made in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

With a rich history dating back to the 19th century, this iconic beer continues to be brewed with excellence and craftsmanship at its original location.

Whether you’re enjoying it at a local pub or purchasing it from your neighborhood store, rest assured that every sip of Pabst Blue Ribbon is a taste of brewing tradition and American pride.