Vintage Beer Signs of the Midwest

Documenting the remaining vintage beer signs from Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style, Blatz, and other similar brands from the 1960s and 1970s that remain hanging outside of taverns throughout Wisconsin and nearby states. Spoiler, there are hundreds of them!

Having been raised in Wisconsin tavern culture, I feel that a perfect symbol for my upbringing is probably the large Pabst Blue Ribbon or Old Style name signs that every single bar in the region had displayed outside of their establishment.

After I decided I wanted to photograph as many of these signs along with the urban landscapes around them, I started prowling on Google maps looking for their locations and began building a map of where these bar signs might still exist. Many of the signs I have found tend to exist outside of densely populated areas. Rural towns and regions that the Google street view team hasn't seemed to have passed through since 2008. I soon came to realize that these signs seem to be dying off at a pretty rapid rate. The very first time I drove out to where I found a cluster of signs, the entire block of buildings at the location had been razed. Every outing I have done since has led me to one or more places where the sign no longers exists that was there the last time the Google Street View car had driven past. Suddenly this whole quirky collection of photographs feels like a race against time.

The first ten photos of this collection were posted in March 2018. I expect it to grow very large over the coming years.

Tappa Keg Inn, Duluth, Minnesota, February 2018

Tappa Keg Inn, Duluth, Minnesota, February 2018

Badger Hole, Bloomer, Wisconsin, December 2017

Badger Hole, Bloomer, Wisconsin, December 2017

Interesting Old Style sign which has lost its red stripe.

Player's Bar, Duluth, Minnesota, December 2017

Player's Bar, Duluth, Minnesota, December 2017

Infield Bar, Superior, Wisconsin, November 2017

Infield Bar, Superior, Wisconsin, November 2017

Pabst Blue Ribbon sign at the Infield Bar, Superior, Wisconsin

PJ's Pub, Birnamwood, Wisconsin, December 2017

PJ's Pub, Birnamwood, Wisconsin, December 2017

The bar is no longer in business, but the Old Style sign still flys outside.

Sportsmen's Inn, Duluth, Minnesota, March 2018

Sportsmen's Inn, Duluth, Minnesota, March 2018

The Sportsmen's Inn, AKA Sporty's

Village Inn, Wittenberg, Wisconsin, December 2017

Village Inn, Wittenberg, Wisconsin, December 2017

The Hill House Pub & Grill, Boyd, Wisconsin, December 2017

The Hill House Pub & Grill, Boyd, Wisconsin, December 2017

Midway Bar, Withee, Wisconsin, December 2017

Midway Bar, Withee, Wisconsin, December 2017

Cop Shoppe Pub, Wausau, Wisconsin, December 2017

Cop Shoppe Pub, Wausau, Wisconsin, December 2017

Mary's Cafe & Pub, Chetek, Wisconsin, December 2017

Mary's Cafe & Pub, Chetek, Wisconsin, December 2017

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