Jacob Best, Beer Baron

Jacob Best

May 1, 1786 – Jan. 26, 1861


Eva Maria Schmidt

Apr. 29, 1790 – Sept. 1867



Oct. 20, 1826 – Dec. 29, 1853


Jacob Best Brewing Company Founded


Name Changed to Pabst Brewing Company

Jacob & Eva Best’s Granddaughter Maria Best Married Captain Frederick Pabst

Also Buried Here

Jacob Muth

Eva Best

Philip Schmidt

Eight Infant children

The first gravestone on the beer baron trail that winds through the Forest Home Cemetery at Milwaukee is the Jacob and Eva Maria Best gravestone.  The large black granite polished slab is a monument to the Best Family but also to the Best Brewing Company which is depicted on the face of the stone, along with a portrait of its founder, Jacob Best.

Like some other notable German immigrants to Milwaukee, Jacob Best of Darmstadt, was a brewer.  He settled in the city in 1840.  Best, with his wife and four sons, established his brewery in 1844 which he named the Empire Brewery.  The small brewery produced lager beer, whiskey, and vinegar.  The demand for lager beer, a beer fermented in low temperatures using very particular yeasts, is characterized by its “crisp” and “clean” taste.  His beer was a hit and so was his brewery.  Jacob Best retired from the brewery in 1859 and turned the business over to his son, Philip, who renamed the business after himself.  As the gravestone proudly proclaims, the brewery originally founded by Jacob Best became the Pabst Brewing Company in 1889 when the Best and Pabst families became intertwined through the marriage of Jacob and Eva Maria’s granddaughter Maria to Captain Frederick Pabst.

A bronze plaque at the base of the gravestone lists the names of the donors who helped pay for the erection of monument in the cemetery.  The Best and Pabst families and foundations associated with their families are well represented but also another brewing company of note, the MillerCoors Brewing Company, as well as, the Museum of Beer and Brewing are on the list of donors.

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1 Response to Jacob Best, Beer Baron

  1. Theresa says:

    What a wonderful article and so interesting.

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