© 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc. Memory B cells are found in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, suggesting that some may be tissue-resident cells. Here we show that pulmonary influenza infection elicited lung-resident memory B cells (BRM cells) that were phenotypically and functionally distinct from their systemic counterparts. BRM cells were established in the lung early after infection, in part because their placement required local antigen encounter. Lung BRM cells, but not systemic memory B cells, contributed to early plasmablast responses following challenge infection. Following secondary infection, antigen-specific BRM cells differentiated in situ, whereas antigen-non-specific BRM cells were maintained as memory cells. These data demonstrate that BRM cells are an important component of immunity to respiratory viruses such as influenza virus and suggest that vaccines designed to elicit BRM cells must deliver antigen to the lungs.