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Monday, August 07, 2006

Can they Really Make Iron City in Milwaukee?

The late Frank Zappa is quoted as saying "You can't have a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." Makes me wonder what he'd say about Pennsylvania these days?

Not long after Anheuser-Busch purchased the Rolling Rock brand for $82 million from InBev and moved production from Latrobe, Pa., to Newark, N.J., comes word that Pittsburgh Brewing, the bankrupt company behind Iron City, is threatening to sell off the assets of the company to out of state brewers. Pittsburgh Brewing wants a judge to throw out a five year agreement the company has with the International Union of Electronic Workers, which represents plant employees. If the bankruptcy court goes along with the plan workers can expect a 10 percent pay cut plus increased health insurance costs.

Rolling Rock and Iron City are old-line iconic brands. They said much about the hard working people of small towns and cities in that part of Pennsylvania. Nothing fancy, just good honest beer. They went down real good after a hard day's work. The green bottles and "33" symbol said Rolling Rock and millions of people who otherwise might have never heard of the place knew the name Latrobe, Pa. Iron City, first brewed in 1861, has a tradition of featuring championship sports teams on its cans. I was never a fan of the Steelers, Pirates or Penguins, but those who were still display those cans proudly as mini-shrines to great seasons.

Rolling Rock has left Pennsylvania. Is Iron City next?


Jason said...

At least we still have Yuengling. Milwaukee can have Rolling Rock...quite possibly one of the worse beers I've ever had...next to Keystone Light. As for the old Iron City, that will be a sad sad day.

Rick Lyke said...


It is sad when historic breweries fall on hard times. Perhaps someone will come along with some marketing and new brand ideas to drive business for Pittsburgh Brewing. Iron City is a classic beer that should be around for future generations to enjoy.