Before I decided to take on this interview for Sesh*Mke I had heard of a man who bought the Historic Pabst Brewery for $50,000. It seemed it was almost folklore, paired with a game of telephone, not quite knowing what to believe. I had read countless interviews about Jim Haertel in the recent months and each article sort of read the same. “Jim Haertel buys the Pabst Brewery for $50,000 and signs the deal on September, 11th of 2001, a day of sadness” It was like a story of yesteryear, a headline for the ages, newsboys selling on every street corner”Extra-Extra Read all about it!!-Man buys Pabst Brewery on Sept. 11th”. This was fascinating to me, but as I read these random stories, I didn’t know where he came from, and who he was. I needed to learn more, and specifically how a guy gets to the point in his life where all of sudden he makes an offer on The Pabst brewery.
When you think of someone making a purchase of this historic magnitude, you think of large out-of-town corporations, suits, wingtips and tie clips. Large scale offices with strangely placed modern furniture that isn’t for sitting, board rooms that stretch further than the eye, and with windows that reach to the heavens looking onto other buildings doing the same.
What you don’t think of is a man like Jim Haertel, a man who just before arriving to the Roman Coin, for this interview, helped his aging mother with her garbage and recycling who to this day still lives on 88th st. & Lisbon here in Milwaukee. He’s a bootstrap kind of guy, a worker, a family man, a focused dreamer, he’s one of our own and he just happens to be the individual that when those buildings were sitting dark on top of that majestic Juneau avenue hill, history rotting away in the shadows of our great city, let the light shine back into those hallowed halls.
In this interview with Sesh*Mke, you will start on a journey, learning of Jim’s history along with the history of Pabst and others here in Milwaukee. Your starting point is the year of 1957 when Jim was born, coincidentally, the year the Braves also took the World Series. We will travel through his childhood, his school years and his time of being a forklift driver as well as a fairly prominent golf caddy. We learn that being a high school Senior, dating a younger high school freshman girl will double your attendance in high school dances, but will also turn into the woman he will end up to marry, as well as the woman who really signed off on this project-literally. Finally, you will receive vats full of advice, along with sides of Bob Hope quotes to get you through your day and what M.B.A. really stands for. You will understand why a six-pack of Leine’s Red is a “brothers thing” and why we as American’s don’t give into terrorists, ever!.
For the last 10 years Jim has been making all the improvements himself, working as what is stated on his business card “Chief Steward & Historic Tour Guide” of the Former Pabst Headquarters, gift shop, and the Historic Visitor’s center building. Along with doing most of the tours himself, not sitting in an high-rise office, nor wanting to for that matter. He doesn’t dress in luxury suits, nor does he carry a briefcase, but dresses in historic Pabst wear from head to toe, and carries a manila folder with old Pabst building prints sticking outwards in every direction, in hopes for a quick show & tell to any local ear that will take a moment to relish, in our city’s historic past. What you see with Jim is definitely what you get, nothing more, and absolutely nothing less.
With that said, if you haven’t grabbed a Pabst yet, what are you waiting for? Take a seat, press play, and listen to a great voice, a voice of Milwaukee and marvel at what it took, to be the guy, that purchased The Historic Pabst Brewery…
“Jim doesn’t just support local, he is local and you can take that… all the way to the bank!”
Here’s to you & here’s to Milwaukee!
You can find Jim Haertel at “The Best Place, located at 901 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee as well as http://www.bestplacemilwaukee.com and “Best Place at The Historic Pabst Brewery” on Facebook for tour times and all your rental needs for weddings & Parties
Also.. I want to thank The Historic Regano’s Roman coin. You can find Teri & Scott at 1004 E. Brady St. As well at “The Roman Coin” on Facebook for daily specials, events & party rental information.
Please check out http://www.lakecountryphoto.com for Paul Bialas book “Pabst an Excavation of Art” for sale as well as pictures taken at the Historic Pabst Brewery.