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New exhibit 'Art on Tap' explores the history of Wisconsin beer art and advertising


Wisconsin is definitely synonymous with beer and that is why it makes perfect sense that there is a new exhibit on Wisconsin brewery art and advertising at West Bend's Museum of Wisconsin Art. The exhibit is called "Art on Tap" and runs now through Sept. 25.

"Art on Tap" not only looks at the art of beer labels in Wisconsin but looks at what Pabst, Miller,  Schlitz and others brewers were doing to market their beer in the early twentieth century.

“Many of Wisconsin’s breweries were on the cutting edge, creating brands as identities. Images like Pabst’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ and Miller’s ‘Girl in the Moon’ and slogans like Schlitz’s ‘The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous’ have become iconic facets of American pop culture.”

The exhibit not only features amazing and rare items from collectors, but the  Museum of  Wisconsin Art will host series of complementary programming and events like beer tastings, a presentation from historian John Gurda, and more. Check out the schedule of the events below.

Opening Party

Roll out the Barrel with The Squeezettes
Saturday, July 16 | 2:00–5:00

Join MOWA for a trip back in time when beer was king and brands were born. Enjoy Art on Tap, sudsy beer, and plenty of breweriana history. Back by popular demand: Put on your polka pants because The Squeezettes are returning to MOWA!

Talks on Tap

Fermented Photography with Paul Bialas
Thursday, July 21 | 6:30

Join photographer Paul Bialas as he shares stories and photos from excursions into working and abandoned Wisconsin breweries. Bialas and his camera have ventured into the shuttered Pabst and Schlitz breweries and into working breweries like Leinenkugel and Miller. Bialas’ photography has been published in three books, each available for purchase in the MOWA Shop. Bialas will gladly sign copies of his books.

Bottoms Up with Jim Draeger
Thursday, August 11 | 6:30

Jim Draeger will serve up a frothy discussion on the architecture, history, and aesthetics of Wisconsin’s saloons and tied houses. Draeger is the State Historic Preservation Officer and Director of Outreach at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He is also the author of Bottoms Up, a book celebrating Wisconsin’s watering holes and breweries. Purchase a copy of the book in the MOWA Shop. Draeger will be available to sign copies of his work.

The Art of Brewing: The Pabst Brewing Company and the Artistry of Advertising
Thursday, August 25 | 6:30

Captain Frederick Pabst understood the power of advertising. In the 1890s, he commissioned artists and lithographers to creatively introduce his beer to a national audience. John C. Eastberg, Executive Director of the Pabst Mansion, will discuss how Pabst was able to successfully use advertising in order to shape the image of one of America’s most iconic brands.

A Sudsy Heritage: Milwaukee’s Rise as Beer Capital of the World with John Gurda
Thursday, September 8 | 6:30

Writer and historian John Gurda will provide a lively look back at the beverage that made Milwaukee famous. Good water, abundant ice, and a substantial German population made Milwaukee a logical center of the brewing trade. Within a single generation the city housed some of the largest brewers in America. Although beer was its most important product for only one year—1890—the “amber nectar” shaped Milwaukee’s character and cemented its image in the national consciousness.

Beer Tastings

Saturday, July 30
1:00 – 2:00 Beer Labels and Branding with Randy Mosher
2:00 – 5:00 Tasting
Door County Brewing Company, Enlightened Brewing Company, Karben4 Brewing, Lithia Brewing Company, Milwaukee Brewing Co. -- SAVOR Milwaukee EditoriAle, Potosi Brewing Company, Riverside Brewery, and more. Live music by Frogwater.

Saturday, August 6
1:00 – 2:00 Tasting Techniques with MillerCoors Master Brewer Megan Mares
2:00 – 5:00 Tasting
3 Sheeps Brewing, Brenner Brewing Company, The Fermentorium, Lakefront Brewery, Lithia Brewing Company, MillerCoors, Milwaukee Brewing Co. -- SAVOR Milwaukee EditoriAle, Riverside Brewery, and more. Live music by Evan Christian.

Saturday, September 10
1:00 – 2:00 The Weird and Wild Flavors: Craft Brewer Panel Discussion
2:00 – 5:00 Tasting
Ale Asylum Brewery, Bittercube, The Great Dane Brewing Company, Lithia Brewing Company, Milwaukee Brewing Co. -- SAVOR Milwaukee EditoriAle, Pearl Street Brewery, Riverside Brewery, Stevens Point Brewery, Sweet Mullets Brewery, and more. Live music by The Latchkeys.

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