Joseph Schlitz

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Joseph Schlitz, May 15, 1831–May 7, 1875

Joseph Schlitz (May 15, 1831 – May 7, 1875) was a German entrepreneur who made his fortune in the brewing industry.

A native of Mainz, Germany, Schlitz emigrated to the U.S. in 1850. In 1856 he assumed management of the Krug Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1858 he married Krug's widow and changed the name of the company to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. He became more successful after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when he donated hundreds of barrels of beer as part of the relief effort. Many of Chicago's breweries that had burnt were never to reopen; Schlitz established a distribution point there and acquired a large portion of the Chicago market.

Schlitz perished along with 340 others in the wreck of the SS Schiller in thick fog off the Isles of Scilly on May 7, 1875. The islands lie 26 miles to the west of Cornwall, England. He was returning via New York and Hamburg to visit the country of his birth, Germany. His body was never recovered but there is a cenotaph at Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee.

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