Gottlieb and Frederika Pabst and their twelve-year-old son Frederick arrived in the United States in 1848 and settled in Chicago where Frederick eventually found work on the ships of Lake Michigan.[ In 1862, Frederick married Maria Best, daughter of the founder and owner of the Best Brewing Company, and in 1863 became a brewer at his father-in-law’s brewery.
When Philip Best retired to Germany in 1867, Pabst and Emil Schandein – his sister-in-law’s husband and the vice-president of Best Brewery – worked to transform the company into one of the nation’s largest brewers, capitalizing on, among other things, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that destroyed nineteen Chicago breweries and helped position Milwaukee as the leading beer-producing city in the United States. In 1889, Schandein died, leaving Pabst as president and his widow, Lisette Schandein, as vice-president.[ In 1890, Pabst changed the “Best” letterhead to “Pabst” and the Pabst Brewing Company officially began.