Premier-Pabst Corp., later Pabst Brewing Co., was established in 1844 in Milwaukee. Pabst later bought out Premier Malt Products in 1934, and with it the still existing plant in Peoria Heights.
The Heights brewery boomed in the 20-year period from 1958-78, producing as many as 18 million barrels of beer in 1977 before closing in 1982.
The Pabst Brewing Company, then the nation's fourth-largest brewery, closed its Peoria Heights brewery in early January 1982. The plant employed more than 700 people at the time, and the Heights brewery shuttering was another blow among many the Peoria area sustained, in terms of lost manufacturing jobs.
Pabst’s local presence inspired brand loyalty; the brand once commandeered at least 60-70 percent of the retail beer market in Peoria.