USA: Pabst brings back Schaefer beer

Schaefer Beer, first produced in New York City during 1842 by the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company and in the mid-1970s one of the top selling beers in the U.S., will be resurrected and brought back to New York City after 34 years.

The Schaefer family, which sold the brewery in 1981 to the Stroh Brewery Company, which in turn was swallowed by the Pabst Brewing Company in 1999, abandoned its traditional brewing site in New York City in 1976 and transferred production to a large modern brewery in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania near Allentown which belongs today to the Boston Beer Company.

The Schaefer brand lost in the following years its significance and was sold only in niche markets. Pabst, owner of the Schaefer brand, which also owns other legacy beer brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, Rainier, Stroh’s, Old Style and Schlitz decided now to relaunch the brand in its former home market.

Initially, Schaefer will be available in the New York City area, but will soon be distributed to some Upstate New York markets. The look and taste have been updated, according to the company.The new Schaefer Beer is a classic “light” American lager with just 3.8% alcohol, making it one of the lowest alcohol beers on the market. The low alcohol content goes very well together with the old and soon to be revived slogan of the beer, which was also used in its iconic beer commercials: “The One Beer to Have When You’re Having More Than One!”

“At Pabst we’re fortunate enough to have access to so many classic American trademarks," Nick Reely, Pabst’s vice president for marketing, said in a news release. "Of course, tastes have changed over the years, New York has evolved, so must we. With that, we’ve reimagined and modernized Schaefer quite a bit – not to walk away from our past and our rich history, but to give the brand new life.  Making it at a local brewery, updating the recipe, having it designed by an incredible NY agency [Joe Doucet x Partners] — all these things bring a sense of freshness to the brand that we think people will really enjoy.”

The beer will be brewed by F.X. Matt Brewery, a contract brewery for many other brands as well. Matt is located in Utica, NY almost 400 km (250 miles) north-west of New York City.

Pabst was once one of the famous breweries in Milwaukee. It did not own an own major production since it closed down after 152 years its brewery in Milwaukee in 1996. In November 2014, Eugene Kashper, Soviet immigrant and American entrepreneur bought the company together with San Francisco-based private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The chairman and CEO of Pabst announced this May to buy a former brewing site from Molson Coors Beverage Company in Irwindale, California (, 5.5.2020). However, Schaefer due to its New York heritage will for the time being not be brewed on the west coast.

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