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|Born||May 1, 1786
Mettenheim, Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
|Died||February 26, 1861 in
|Forest Home Cemetery|
|Known for||Pabst Brewing Company|
Jacob Best, Sr. (1786–1861) was a German-American brewer who founded what would later become known as the Pabst Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, where he learned the trade and ran a small brewery in Mettenheim, Rhenish Hesse, until immigrating to Milwaukee in 1844 to join his sons.
In Milwaukee, Jacob Best founded a brewery on Chestnut Street Hill called Empire Brewery, which he ran with his sons, Phillip, Jacob, Jr., Charles, and Lorenz. Charles and Lorenz soon withdrew from the company, with Charles establishing the Plank Road Brewery (now called Miller Brewing Company). His daughter Margaretha married Mortiz Schoeffler, a prominent newspaper editor who founded The Wisconsin Banner. Empire Brewery produced 300 barrels in its first year of operation. The name was changed to Best and Company and became one of the most successful breweries in Milwaukee.
After Jacob, Sr. retired in 1853, Phillip and Jacob, Jr. continued operations as a partnership. The Best brewery was renamed to Phillip Best Brewery. Phillip's son-in-laws, Emil Schandein and Captain Frederick Pabst later bought the brewery from Phillip. By 1874 Phillip Best Brewing Co. was the nation's largest brewer thanks to the constant supplying of Chicago post the Great Chicago Fire. The brewery was renamed the Pabst Brewing Company and remained at the same location along Chestnut Street (now Juneau Avenue) until closure of the complex in 1997.
Jacob Best, Sr. devoted the remainder of his life to local politics. He is buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.