Friday, May 4, 2012

Pabst-ett Cheese

Now here's a cheese with an interesting history.  With a name like Pabst-ett it obviously had ties to the Pabst brewing company.  With the advent of Prohibition in 1920, the Pabst Brewing Company decided to get into the cheese business.  The dairy itself was located west of Milwaukee and Pabst used the former ice cellars of the brewery to age the cheese.  One of the products they made was Pabst-ett, a processed whey cheese similar to Velveeta but more spreadable.  I think the product was more akin the cheddar cheese spread that comes in the little crocks nowadays than to actual Velveeta.  The cheese business was wildly successful and ultimately brought Pabst and Kraft into confrontation with one another over copyright infringement.  Kraft won the case and gave Pabst a royalty free license to continue making Pabst-ett.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, Pabst sold the cheese business off to Kraft who continued to produce Pabst-ett cheese until at least the late 1940's. 

This ad was from the time when Pabst and Kraft we locking horns over copyrights.  It's so typical of ads in the late 20's, especially borrowing from the ad campaigns of shortening in that's it's main selling point it that it's "Digestible".  For some weird reason this was a major talking point for food products in that time period, like everything else is in-digestible?  In researching about the vintage diet, it seems people suffered from "Stomach Ailments" on a more or less regular basis and blamed it on indigestible foods.  Really the problem was an utter lack of fiber in the diet resulting in constant constipation.  There was an ad campaign aimed at that as well and we'll study that in our next article.


  1. I was at an estate auction recently and along with a box of old bottles, there were yellow round cardboard circles with Pabst-ett on them. At first I thought they were coasters until I found this article. Thank you for this information.

    1. Turning them into coasters isn't a bad idea though... You'd have to coat them in something waterproof.

    2. I just spotted a vintage cookbook at a local antique store, "Breakfast to Midnight Recipes with Pabst-Ett" be Alice Brady


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