Discover the U.S. A City that Proudly Calls Itself the `Beer Capital of the World`

Written by Maura Hoff
Published: November 4, 2023
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Discover the U.S. City that Proudly Calls Itself the `Beer Capital of the World`

To many, Milwaukee is just an average city in the Midwest. Still, there is a lot of history to Milwaukee and many interesting facts that put it on the map. Read on to learn about Milwaukee, WI, and why it proudly calls itself the beer capital of the world.

Interesting Facts About Milwaukee

The Riverwalk in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is famous for the setting of television shows

Laverne and Shirley


Happy Days


©Chris LaBasco/

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin. With a population of 569,330 (2021), the city continues to grow as a diverse destination to live. A major claim to fame, Milwaukee was the setting for Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days, two popular television series in the 1970s.

Many people don’t know that Milwaukee the City of Nicknames. Cream City is a popular nickname because of the pale, light-colored bricks used to build the historic buildings standing today. Others refer to Milwaukee as the City of Steeples because of the many churches built by European immigrants.

Of course, Milwaukee is also Brew City, or The Beer Capital of the World, because of its history with beer and today’s thriving brewing industry.

What is the beer capital of the world?

Milwaukee, WI is the beer capital of the world. But this isn’t because of the land, water, or surplus of ingredients like barley or hops. In the mid-1800s, Milwaukee was also a major exporter of wheat, but this wasn’t the reason for its brewing success. The large number of German immigrants who settled in Milwaukee is a high probability to the city’s extensive brewing industry. The German heritage plus the close proximity to Chicago and talented businessmen helped the city coin the nickname Beer Capital of the World.

Among the many German immigrants in Milwaukee, there were a few who created the famous beers we know today. Frederick Miller, Joseph Schlitz, Frederick Pabst, and Valentin Blatz developed the biggest breweries in the city. They quickly became popular among locals and visitors, but their fame skyrocketed after the Great Chicago Fire, a massive fire in 1871 that burned over three miles of Chicago, IL. Schlitz and other brewers shipped free beer to Chicago during the aftermath. Because of this generosity, Schlitz became known as “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” In the years following the fire, the brewers’ popularity grew to other major cities in the United States and eventually became a nationwide export. Beer consumption was so extreme that the brewers were running out of barrels. A few breweries including Schlitz and Pabst joined together to form Delta Cooperage Company to ensure a consistent barrel supply.

What beer is made in Milwaukee?

Bar with Beers

Milwaukee became famous for its four major breweries; Schlitz, Miller, Pabst, and Blatz.

©Syda Productions/

The four major breweries in Milwaukee, Schlitz, Miller, Pabst, and Blatz, originally made Milwaukee the Beer Capital of the World. Over time, the brewers competed to be the best and biggest brewery in the country. As the companies fought to keep up with the increasing demand for their beer, they were eventually bought out by larger corporations. The only major brewery still in operation in Milwaukee today is Miller Brewing Company, owned by MillerCoors. Tours are still available at the historic Pabst Brewing Company, as well.

In addition to Miller Brewing Company, there are more than 30 breweries in Milwaukee and surrounding areas today. Beer enthusiasts visit the city for the brews of today and the rich history of the beer still sold across the country.

What beer can you only get in Wisconsin?

Holstein dairy cows on the Dunnum Family Farm.

Holstein dairy cows are very popular in Wisconsin, also called “America’s Dairyland.”

©Rawpixel Ltd / CC BY 2.0 – License

The state of Wisconsin is called “America’s Dairyland.” It’s not uncommon to drive through Wisconsin and see black and white dairy cows like Holsteins or Belted Galloways grazing in the pastures. As the leading producer of milk, butter, and cheese, it’s no wonder Wisconsinites are sometimes referred to as “Cheeseheads.”

There is one brewery in Wisconsin that chose to honor the love of dairy in a unique way. New Glarus Brewing Company, located in New Glarus, WI, developed a farmhouse ale called Spotted Cow. This beer is only available for purchase in Wisconsin and is cherished among locals.

Where is Milwaukee, WI located on a map?

The city of Milwaukee sits along Lake Michigan in the southeast part of Wisconsin. It is the largest city in the state. See the map below for Milwaukee’s exact location.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean Pavone/

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About the Author

Maura Hoff is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is dogs, travel, and hiking. She has been writing for over 10 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Pennsylvania State University in 2016. When Maura isn't writing, she spends time with her husband and two Golden Retrievers, Basil and Sunny, in the Colorado mountains. Her passions are cooking, reading, music, and quoting her favorite show, The Office.

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