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Frederick Pabst, Sr. | Inducted by 1920

Founder of Pabst Brewing Company, was one of the first to utilize brewers’ grains as cattle feed, and also an importer and breeder of Percheron draft horses.

1836-1904 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)

Impact & Accomplishments

Born in the Kingdom of Prussia (present-day Germany), Frederick Pabst, Sr., immigrated to America with his parents and took a job as a cabin boy for a Lake Michigan steamship company. By the time he was twenty-one, he had earned his pilot’s license and was a steamship captain.

Captain Pabst ran aground in a storm in 1863 and decided to find work on dry land instead, in his father-in-law, Phillip Best’s brewery. Pabst took over Best’s shares and expanded Best Brewery production and markets, and by 1874, it was the largest brewery in the United States. The company was renamed Pabst Brewing Company in 1889, and with its success, Milwaukee became known as the beer capital of the nation.

In 1870, Pabst purchased a farm near Wauwatosa and became one of the first to utilize brewers’ grains as cattle feed, demonstrating their value in beef and dairy production. He imported Percheron breeding stock from France, taking the horses to work at the brewery and to show in the ring. Frederick Pabst, Sr., contributed to his Milwaukee community in many ways, including establishing a bank, a resort, a theatre, and traveling library of German books.

Did You Know?

Practically all the horses purchased by Pabst were high grade Percherons, and it was decided that a four-horse hitch would be exhibited at the 1904 World's Fair Draft Horse Show in St. Louis.  The Pabst wagon was navy blue, drawn by dapple-gray Percherons in gold-ornamental harness, with a large coach dog riding as a mascot.  Pabst Brewing Company of Wisconsin won the competition, and the teamster circled around the arena, making figure-8s and exhibited other serpentine patterns. After the four-horse demonstration, two more horses were added and the six went though a similar series of movements for the awestruck crowd.  In 1906, the Pabst six won the championship at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and at the International. Courtesy of Eaglesfield Percherons.

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