The Milwaukee Beer Line: From Grain to Glass

The Milwaukee Beer Line: 2022 exhibit

The National Railroad Museum’s 2022 exhibit, “The Milwaukee Beer Line: From Grain to Glass,” is on display in our Fuller Hall gallery throughout this year.

Among the featured items in the exhibit are photos provided by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art taken 70 years ago, in 1952, by Wallace W. Abbey. The photos show different areas of the Milwaukee Beer Line, which serviced the Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz breweries, among many other industries. Visitors also will enjoy seeing beer memorabilia from these lines ranging from the 1950s through 1970s. These collectibles, originally made to advertise breweries, were displayed at bars and taverns. In addition, the exhibit features informational displays, vintage beer cans, photos showing what the Beer Line looks like today, and more.

The Milwaukee Beer Line was the specific section of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad that ran north of Milwaukee’s downtown area. The main rail yards were near North Humboldt Boulevard, Cherry Street and Chestnut Street. Freight trains transported the needed grains to the breweries and then exported the finished beer. This line also served other commodities, such as lumber, steel, oil and food distributors like Kraft and Nabisco.

“Beer production has been an important part of Wisconsin’s history and economy,” said Daniel Liedtke, curator at the National Railroad Museum. “Most of us have seen trucks from beer distributors driving around and delivering to stores. We usually don’t think about how those trucking companies get their products. Railroads are still a main source of transportation for our goods and commodities. This exhibit focuses on the importance breweries in Milwaukee had on the railroad to both receive the raw materials they needed and then to transport their finished product throughout the state.”

The exhibit is included in the daily admission price.

Photo Gallery | The Milwaukee Beer Line: From Grain to Glass

Contact Us

Daniel Liedtke, Curator: (920) 437-7623, ext. 114 or