Thursday, March 18, 2010

Of Schlitz and Oblio’s and Oshkosh

When Schlitz brought back their “classic 1960s formula” in 2007 the beer was aimed at drinkers in their 50s and 60s who came of age drinking the brew at the height of its popularity. But when the “new” Schlitz went on tap at Oblio’s in Oshkosh in 2008, there was a lot more in that first pour than the nostalgic pull of 60 or 70 years. “Oblio’s was built by Schlitz in 1884,” says Todd Cummings, co-owner of the bar with Mark Schultz. “When it came back to Oshkosh, this is where they launched it.”

A year later, much of the marketing hype Schlitz generated has subsided. And though it’s nice to have a local bar with deep roots keep a link to the past on tap, people don’t come to Oblio’s to drink history. A good portion of the bar’s patrons are beer enthusiasts and with 27 tap lines, there are plenty of beers on hand that offer more than mere nostalgia. At this point you’d expect that Schlitz would have faded away, once again. That hasn’t happened, though.

“Schlitz is still holding its own,” Todd says. “It has it’s own niche.” He says the appeal is fairly broad based. “Some of it is nostalgia, people who remember drinking it when they were younger.” Or the guy whose father worked at Schlitz who brings his dad in when he comes to town to have a beer and talk about his brewery days. But another part of it, Todd says, is “younger people who come in wanting to know what Schlitz was all about.“

There’s one aspect of having a Schlitz at Oblio’s that separates it from other places and it has nothing to do with the history of the beer or the bar. Whatever you think of Schlitz, there’s no denying the beauty of that pale lager as it swirls up the sides of the fluted pilsner glass that Oblio’s serves the beer in. “It’s contagious,” Todd says. “People see that and they want try it.”

That’s probably how it worked in 1884, too.


  1. Schlitz causes hiccups. Just saying.

  2. My own beer drinking days seem to be long gone but I do appreciate a cold one on a very hot summer day. Having a beer at Oblio's in good company would be fun.