Stroh Brewery Company brands were sold to Pabst and Miller in 2000. Stroh was America’s fourth largest brewer at the time of its demise, but it was no longer profitable. The end of Stroh in many ways symbolized the last gasp of the great regional brands that never quite managed to meet the challenge of the US national breweries. Bernhard Stroh, a 28-year-old German immigrant, founded the Lion’s Head Brewery in Detroit, Michigan, in 1850, producing “Bohemian-style” light lager beer. Upon his death in 1882, his son, Bernhard Stroh Jr, took over and changed the company name to the B. Stroh Brewing Company. The name was changed again in 1902, this time to The Stroh Brewery Company, the name under which it was incorporated in 1909. In the 20th century, the brewery became famous for its “fire-brewed” beer. The Stroh brewing kettles were heated directly by gas flames instead of by the more modern method of steam. The high heat underneath the kettle slightly caramelized the malt sugars in the wort, which was said to give the Stroh beers a finer and deeper malt flavor. See direct firing. The family business struggled through Prohibition making near beer, soft drinks, and ice cream and became one of America’s top breweries again after Prohibition ended in 1933. But a workers strike in 1958 shut down the brewery, and this allowed several national brands to gain a foothold in Stroh’s main markets, including Detroit. Fourth-generation CEO Peter Stroh took over the company in 1968 and launched a string of acquisitions as a strategy for remaining competitive against the emerging brew giants Anheuser-Busch and Miller. Peter Stroh was replaced in 1995 by CEO William Henry, the first non-family member to run the company. He continued on the acquisition trail, buying the Heileman Brewing Co. in 1996. With these acquisitions and its own long-term brands, Stroh had compiled a long list of weak regional brands in its portfolio: Pabst, Schaefer, Schlitz, Rainier, Olympia, Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, and Colt 45. In addition, the company brewed Sam Adams Boston Lager and Pete’s Wicked Ale under contract. These two brands were leaders in the craft brewing world, but their growth was not great enough to fund the $700 million in debt the company had taken on to buy the other regionals. After one and a half centuries in the beer business, the company had ceased to be viable, and it collapsed in 2000. As of 2010, ownership of the entire Stroh portfolio is divided between Pabst and MillerCoors, but all brands are physically brewed by MillerCoors.