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“Old” Schlitz

My Dad and I were waxing poetic over a few beers one evening when he told me that Schlitz used to be a great beer and he drank it all the time. Sometime in the 1970s, the formula was changed and afterwards it wasn’t worth drinking ever again. Of course, I tried it myself and found it basically ran right through me and didn’t taste considerably better in any way than Old Milwaukee (the Beast) or even Miller Lite. Having grown up in NW Georgia, this was immediately linked to the New Coke scandal of 1985. I vividly remember newscasts of protesters pouring out 2 liter bottles of their reformulated swill onto the North Avenue sidewalk. I imagine drunken crowds in Milwaukee did much worse than that after Schlitz’s retooling to cut costs.

Fast forward to 2008. The geniuses what make my favorite session beer, the Pabst Brewing Company – purveyors of those Blue Ribbon beauties, is reintroducing the “old” formula of Schlitz at 10 places around Chicago.

Pabst is relaunching the old brew in long-neck bottles at 10 outlets on Chicago’s North Side with hopes of wider availability next year.

Chicago is the third market for the Schlitz reintroduction, following roll-outs in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Tampa Bay, Florida.


You can bet your sweet, drunken ass I’ll be sampling it and bringing a case down for my Dad should it be up to snuff. Nothing like drinking together brings you closer to your parents.

Check out this bizarre Schlitz commercial from the 1970s which overuses “gusto” and seems to communicate, “Drink Schlitz or I’ll kill you”.