Pabst was made in Milwaukee but by the 1880s it was the largest brewery in the U.S. After opening their first branch in Chicago in 1878, it opened their second branch in Kansas City in 1879. Pabst grew so fast that the new office built in 1900 had to be replace by this building at 21st and Central in 1911, which cost $80,000. There is a huge ice house on the same block which housed part of the 60,000 tons of ice they used in one year in the U.S.
While under the thumb of Prohibition, Pabst like many companies made near-beer. In Kansas City, Pendergast Distribution Company handled distribution of Pabst and Kulmbacher Cereal Beverage both made by Pabst. By 1920, Tom Pendergast took control of the business using this building as a warehouse and distribution center. Rumors claimed the Pabst Depot had a bootlegging operation inside.
This postcard, dated 1911, a little before “Boss” Tom’s reign but this beer depot is one of the best preserved on the tour. It’s currently being renovated into condominiums so here’s your chance to own and live in some brewing history!