Originating as an expansion team in 1969, in Seattle, Washington, as the Seattle Pilots, the club played for one season in the American League West Division before being acquired in bankruptcy court by Bud Selig, who then moved the team to Milwaukee. They would continue to play in the West Division for two more years. Before the beginning of the 1972 season the Brewers agreed to switch over to the American League East to make room for the Texas Rangers who had relocated from Washington, DC. Beginning in 1994, due to divisional realignment, the Brewers moved to the newly created American League Central division. In all, the Brewers were part of the American League from their creation in 1969 through the 1997 season, after which they moved to the National League Central Division. Milwaukee had previously been a National League city when its team was the Milwaukee Braves (1953–1965). It had also been an American League city, albeit briefly, when the original Milwaukee Brewers became an AL charter team in 1901 before moving to St. Louis to become the Browns the following season. Between 1902 and 1952, Milwaukee was home to the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association (AAA) and the Milwaukee Bears of the Negro National League. Both clubs played at Borchert Field.
In 1981, Milwaukee won the American League East Division in the second half of the strike-shortened season. In the playoffs, they lost the divisional series to the New York Yankees, three games to two.
In 1982, Milwaukee won the American League East Division and the American League Pennant, earning their only World Series appearance to date as the Brewers. In the Series, they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals four games to three.
In 2008, for the first time in the 26 years since their World Series appearance, the Brewers advanced to postseason play by winning the National League wild card. They were eliminated in the National League Division Series by the eventual World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.
On September 23, 2011, the Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years. They won the National League Division Series in five games over the Arizona Diamondbacks, but lost the National League Championship Series to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in six games.
In 2018, the Brewers clinched a spot in the post-season for the first time since 2011 with a 2–1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on September 26, 2018.
On September 29, they tied with the Cubs for first place in the National League Central, with a record of 95–67; at the end of the day on September 30, the Cubs and Brewers were still tied. This tie was broken on October 1, when the Brewers defeated the Cubs 3–1 in the NL Central tiebreaker to improve to 96–67 and win the division by one game. They went on to defeat the Colorado Rockies 3–0 to win the NLDS, but in the following NLCS, they lost out to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games.
In 2019, the Brewers returned to the postseason and made an appearance in the National League Wild Card Game, where they were defeated by the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals 4–3.