The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of an American Business

The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of an American Business

The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of an American Business

The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of an American Business

Excerpt

The Pabst Brewing Company is one of the oldest of the great American brewing concerns. Founded in 1844, it has, from the late sixties to the present day, maintained a leading position in its industry. Rich material for the study of successful entrepreneurship and the adjustment of a business firm to changing conditions in technology, markets, and competition is to be found in the Pabst records. As editor of the New York University Business History Series, it was my privilege to study these records and from them prepare this history of the Pabst Company as the first volume in our series.

The Pabst material tends to fall into four periods. For the first of these, from the founding of the enterprise as a partnership to its incorporation in 1873, there are few remaining company records. Thus the account had to be based largely on local newspapers, Wisconsin censuses, and other "outside" sources. The core of the study is the second period: from 1873 to the coming of prohibition in 1919. For these years the company records are fairly complete and my assistants and I had free access to them. In one sense, the present history ends in 1919. In the third period, the thirteen years of prohibition, new business problems arose that were not connected with brewing. To study these situations properly would require another book dealing with the history of prepared foods and soft drinks. Furthermore, in this prohibition era as well as in the fourth and last period of Pabst history, the years since 1933, full or interpretive writing is impossible because executives still active are the chief characters, and a highly competitive marketing situation produces many trade secrets. For the years after 1919, therefore, the study is not based on a complete examination of the company records.

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