Beer In Ads #727: Say Cheese

Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, another Halloween ad from the 1950s or early 60s. This one’s part of A-B’s “where there’s life … there’s Bud” series. Showing the makings of a Halloween party, with loads of cheese on plates, and a can of Bud being poured into a glass. The expression of the woman watching the beer is pretty funny, along with the tagline. “Say cheese. Or anything else good to eat.”


Feeding The World

I try to stay away from politics for the most part, because beer lovers come from all walks of life and are from all sides of the political spectrum, too. Beer brings people together, and I find it’s usually best to keep it that way. Regular readers know that I do break that rule from time to time, more often than not when it has something to with beer. So this one’s more of a stretch, except that as I do feel that “beer is agriculture,” and because we all eat food, usually paired with our beer, it’s still within the scope of the Bulletin. If you don’t agree, feel free to just skip this particular rant. Actual beer news will follow.

Here in sunny California, there are a number of contentious propositions on the November election ballot this year, but none, it seems to me, is more combative than Prop. 37, which is about the labeling of GMOs. Although it appears to be an imperfect proposition — aren’t most of them? — the very fact that big agribusinesses and other large mega-corporations are pouring money into the state to defeat it makes me, no compels me, to be supportive of it. I am swayed by the fact that over sixty other nations require GMO labeling. I can see no harm in knowing what’s in my food. I am not persuaded that it will be as costly as the opposition claims. They said the same thing about nutritional labels on food packages, but they’re all still in business today, having endured that “hardship.” I am not persuaded by the number of newspapers against it, because most of the food producers lining up to defeat it also advertise in newspapers. Coincidence? Don’t be so naive. Of course, that could come down to simply lying. I saw yesterday that although television ads against the proposition list the San Francisco Examiner as one of the papers against 37, in fact they have endorsed it.

Even if it passes, it isn’t likely to change peoples’ eating habits any more than warning labels on cigarette cartons stopped smoking. And that’s another argument I can’t abide. Even if true — which it probably is — I tend to err on the side of having more information rather than less, and tend to be suspicious of businesses that actively try to suppress information. Corporations telling me “trust us” or “don’t worry, it’s safe, because we say so” do not exactly inspire the same confidence that transparency does. Especially when the history of corporate malfeasance is so rich with examples of companies placing profits way, way ahead of people.

I suspect it won’t pass. Money does really make a difference in how these propositions fare, and I think most people’s default position is to vote “no” on any of them that are confusing, unclear or contentious. Better to leave things the way they are than change things in an uncertain way. I have certainly felt that way on more than a few occasions. And I suspect that the doubt placed in many voter’s minds by the $34 million barrage of “No on 37” ads will lead many to do just that. I have, however, questioned much of what I’ve seen in the attack ads trying to defeat the proposition, even as for some of it I haven’t known quite what to think. Earlier today, the Yes on 37 campaign posted this video, answering atleast some of those concerns:

I confess my mind’s not made up about GMOs across the board. I certainly don’t think they’re all bad, and there have certainly been instances throughout history where tinkering with nature has been a good thing for us humans. I also know this issue came up a few years ago when Greenpeace attacked ABI for using rice in their beer that may have contained GMOs. While I don’t often side with them, I did think that Greenpeace was out of line there. I should also note that some of the No on 37 ads mention that beer is exempt under the proposition, but that has more to do with the fact that the proposition applied the same standard currently used for labeling all food products, and under current regulations, beer is exempt. So it appears the reason is not conspiratorial.

But can you decide how to vote based on who’s supporting which side of an issue? Maybe. I certainly think there’s a story in who’s on which side. The “Yes on 37 supporters” is a long list that includes (according to the website) 3,643 endorsements that is made up of consumer and public health organizations, food groups (safety, manufacturers, retail), dietary advocacy groups, farmers, farmers markets, co-ops, farming associations, individual farms, medical groups and associations, doctors, political parties, local governments, elected officials, political organizations, natural health businesses, progressive and social justice groups, GMO activists (as you’d expect), labor unions, environmental groups, academics, food writers, chefs and quite a few more.

On the other side of the aisle, No on 37 Donors number around 68 companies, all of which appear to be food or chemical companies. Of the nearly $35 million donated to defeat Prop 37, Monsanto is apparently the leader, with around $7.1 million given to kill it, with Dupont in second place. But the whole lists reads like a who’s who list of ginormous corporations, and includes such well-known players as Bumble Bee Foods, the Campbell Soup Company, Cargill, Clorox Company, Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, Dole, Dow, General Mills, Heinz, Hershey, Hormel Foods Corporation, Kraft Food Group, Nestle, Ocean Spray Cranberries, PepsiCo, Sara Lee, Smithfield Foods, the Snack Food Association, Sunny Delight, J.M. Smucker and Unilever. At the bottom of the “No on 37″ website, they claim that their efforts are “sponsored by Farmers, Food Producers, and Grocers. Major funding by Monsanto Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Grocery Manufacturers Association” and others. But the only “farmers” there are the giant agribusiness type, while the Yes supporters include what appear to be actual farmers, or, at a minimum, dozens of places with farm-like names.

Is that dispositive? Perhaps not all by itself, but it does, I believe, lead to additional questions about why the majority of the opposition to labeling GMO foods almost entirely have something to do with their creation, manufacture or use. Is their self-interest on the other side? Undoubtedly there is, but for many, if not most, of the supporters, it appears more to be part and parcel with their core beliefs already, not manufactured arguments against transparency.

Whether true or not, it certainly feels somewhat Goliath vs. David-like. I really wish people outside California would leave us alone to vote how we will, instead of pouring money into the state to influence our politics. That always feels intrusive to me, like when the Mormons in Utah spent their millions to defeat the proposition for gay marriage a few years ago. I’ve never understood why foreign nations and their citizens are not allowed to attempt to influence our elections, but people (whether corporate “people” or the regular individual kind) from any state can spend money to influence politics in other states where they don’t live. What’s the difference? I’m certain Monsanto, for example, does business in our state, but they’re a Missouri corporation. Likewise, Dupont is a Delaware corporation. They should stay the fuck out of our politics. That, or move their companies here and start paying state taxes like the rest of us do.

A couple of days ago, someone sent me an article by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé in the Huffington Post, entitled Seven Things to Tell Your Friends About GMOs. And while I’m no fan of HuffPo — Hey Arianna, how about paying your writers instead of pocketing the millions you make for yourself, you hypocrite — the piece is interesting and brings up a number of good points, at least for a newbie to the issue like myself. Which is, I suspect, the situation most California voters find themselves. We’ve all heard a lot about GMOs, but would be hard-pressed to call ourselves experts on the subject. Since they’re so new, I doubt many people could confidently claim to be experts, but lots of people have their cherished opinions. If you’re a California voter, I’d certainly recommend the Lappé’s 7 Things. At the bottom of the piece, there’s also a link to a video by Food MythBusters: the Real Story About What We Eat which, while not exactly on point for GMOs, is nonetheless interesting and talks more generally about the misinformation spread by the big agribusinesses that are currently spearheading efforts to quash Prop 37.

So hopefully everyone in California will get out and vote this election and will think carefully about this proposition, as well. The rest of the country, and especially the food industry, is closely watching which way this one goes. I personally would love to see it pass, but as I said, I suspect it won’t, and if that’s the case hopefully the architects of it will listen to both the opposition and the honest concerns that many people had with its implementation and fix those aspects of it before re-introducing it again. One final word about it, from a molecular biologist in the San Jose Mercury News, Belinda Martineau: A scientist says yes on Prop 37 to label genetically engineered food, who gives at least one scientist’s perspective on it. For additional reading, see the Ballotpedia entry, discussing both sides of Prop 37 and there’s also the California Voter Guide, which also strives to present both sides fairly.

UPDATE: A good friend of mine tells me that the Lappés’ piece contains numerous mis-statements, so perhaps it should be taken with a grain of salt after all. But here’s another worthy read. Vandana Shiva: Why Monsanto Is Fighting Tooth and Nail Against California’s Prop 37. And SF Weekly’s Anna Roth looked into both sides of the debate over Prop 37 in Three Things I Learned When I Forced Myself to Learn About Proposition 37.

Beer In Ads #726: Your Face Will Light Up, Too!

Tuesday’s ad is for Blatz, a Halloween ad from 1947. Showing a smirking jack-o-lantern eyeing a full pilsner glass and bottle of Blatz beer next to it. Notice the plate of food below the main ad, with the glass of beer next to it? What exactly do you think that food on the plate might be? It’s lovely presentation, but what the hell is it?


Turkey Beer

Today in 1923, Turkey gained their Independence from the Ottoman Empire.


Turkey Breweries

Turkey Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: Beer and Malt Producers´ Association of Turkey

National Regulatory Agency: General Directorate of Protection and Control (Koruma ve Kontrol Genel Müdürlüğü)

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Labels must include the following information: Name and brand of product; Name and address of producing company; Name and address of importing company; Production batch number and date; Country of origin; Net weight or volume; Ministry of Agriculture production or import license number and date; Special instructions for use, preparation, or storage; Special warnings, if applicable; and Alcohol content as a percentage (if the product contains more than 1.2 percent alcohol).

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.05%


  • Full Name: Republic of Turkey
  • Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria
  • Government Type: Republican parliamentary democracy
  • Language: Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages
  • Religion(s): Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Population: 79,749,461; 17th
  • Area: 783,562 sq km, 37th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly larger than Texas
  • National Food: Döner Kebap
  • National Symbols: Gray Wolf; Tulip; star and crescent
  • Affiliations: UN, NATO
  • Independence: From the Ottoman Empire as successor state, October 29, 1918, celebrated as Republic Day


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18 [Note: The government has been steadily restricting alcohol in Turkey, with proposals to create alcohol-free zones, bars on alcohol sold in new packaging, bans on sports advertising, restricting sales, and making it harder to have alcohol at public events. Alcohol is still readily available and the legal age is rarely enforced in bars or convenience stores.]
  • BAC: 0.05% [Note: zero for commercial transport and public service drivers.]
  • Number of Breweries: 16


  • How to Say “Beer”: bira / slang: arpa suyu
  • How to Order a Beer: Beer beer-ah, luht-fen
  • How to Say “Cheers”: Serefe (“to honor”) / Sagliginiza (“to your health”) / şerefe
  • Toasting Etiquette: N/A


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 60%
  • Wine: 5%
  • Spirits: 35%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 1.37
  • Unrecorded: 0.50
  • Total: 1.87
  • Beer: 0.24

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 1.4 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Stable
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Sales Restrictions: Places, specific events, petrol stations
  • Advertising Restrictions: Yes
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: Sales promotion

Patterns of Drinking Score: 3

Prohibition: None


Beer Bouncing Back

Nielsen, the company that tracks all things trackable, is speculating on their NelsonWire that beer is bouncing back and that this may signal the “beginning of a beer boom.” According to their data, “Beer sales are seeing a surge in growth, up 5 million cases (1.4 percent) in the last 12 weeks through September 1, 2012, in Nielsen-measured retail outlets. The same period last year saw a decline of 1.7 million cases.”


The main reason they cite for this is choice.

With more options on shelves and innovative product offerings, new consumers were attracted to the beer category. Nearly half of the households who were new to malt, or cider-based beverages (beer, flavored malt beverages and cider) in the past six months had bridged over from solely buying wine or spirits last year.

But as they’re focused to a greater extent on the bigger players in the category, they mean choice in a different way than you and I normally understand it. When Nielsen refers to choice, they mean “flavors, formats and packaging,” though in my experience it’s always “packaging options” that seem to get the most attention. But even with the term as common as flavor, it’s used here as more jargon instead of what you’d ordinarily think it means. By “new flavors,” they don’t mean more different styles or kinds of beer on the average beer set shelf. No, they mean line extensions like the two they give as examples: “Bacon Maple and Blue Raspberry Lemonade,” as a part of other already-established brands.

So while this is good news, and we should all welcome a coming “beer boom,” I can’t help but wonder if this “boom” of which they speak — which quite frankly the craft beer side has been seeing for a decade — is not going to favor them as much as the regional breweries and even the smaller craft breweries. That’s what it’s been doing for several years now, and I can’t see any reason to suspect that will change in the coming months or years, no matter how “bright the last quarter of 2012 may be for beer.” Still, a coming “beer boom” sure has a nice ring to it.

Czech Republic Beer

Today in 1918, the Czech Republic, then Czechoslovakia, gained their Independence from Austria-Hungary.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic Breweries

Czech Republic Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: Research Institute Of Brewing; Czech Beer & Malt Association

National Regulatory Agency: Ministry of Agriculture,
Food Production Department

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: EU Regulations

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.00%


  • Full Name: Czech Republic
  • Location: Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria
  • Government Type: Parliamentary democracy
  • Language: Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8%
  • Religion(s): Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59%
  • Capital: Prague (Praha)
  • Population: 10,177,300; 84th
  • Area: 78,867 sq km, 116th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than South Carolina
  • National Food: Vepřo knedlo zelo (roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut); Svíčková
  • National Symbols: Double-tailed Lion (Bohemia), Eagle (Moravia and Silesia); linden; Vltava (Bohemia), Morava (river) (Moravia)
  • Affiliations: UN, EU, NATO
  • Independence: Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, January 1, 1993; Note: although January 1 is the day the Czech Republic came into being, the Czechs generally consider October 28, 1918, the day the former Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as their independence day


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18
  • BAC: 0.00%
  • Number of Breweries: 127


  • How to Say “Beer”: pivo
  • How to Order a Beer: Pivo, pro-seem
  • How to Say “Cheers”: Nazdar or Na zdraví (“to your health”)
  • Toasting Etiquette: The most common toast is “Na zdravi!” which means “to your health,” upon which each person clicks glasses with everyone at the table. Make eye contact with each person you click glasses with, or you will be considered rude.


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 57%
  • Wine: 16%
  • Spirits: 24%
  • Other: 3%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 14.97
  • Unrecorded: 1.48
  • Total: 16.45
  • Beer: 8.51

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 15 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Stable
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Sales Restrictions: Specific events, intoxicated persons
  • Advertising Restrictions: Some
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: No

Patterns of Drinking Score: 3

Prohibition: On September 14, 2012, the government of the Czech Republic banned all sales of liquor with more than 20% alcohol. From this date on it is illegal to sell (and/or offer for sale) such alcoholic beverages in shops, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, gas stations, e-shops etc. This measure was taken in response to the wave of methanol poisoning cases resulting in the deaths of 18 people in the Czech Republic. Since the beginning of the “methanol affair” the total number of deaths has increased to 25. The ban remains until further notice, though restrictions were eased towards the end of September.


Turkmenistan Beer

Today in 1991, Turkmenistan gained their Independence from the USSR.


Turkmenistan Breweries

Turkmenistan Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: None Known

National Regulatory Agency: None

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Not Known

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.033%


  • Full Name: Turkmenistan
  • Location: Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
  • Government Type: Secular democracy and a presidential republic; but in reality displays authoritarian presidential rule, with power concentrated within the presidential administration
  • Language: Turkmen (official) 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
  • Religion(s): Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
  • Capital: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
  • Population: 5,054,828; 118th
  • Area: 488,100 sq km, 53rd
  • Comparative Area: Slightly larger than California
  • National Food: Palaw
  • National Symbols: Five carpet guls; Akhal-Teke horse
  • Affiliations: UN, CIS
  • Independence: From the USSR, October 27, 1991


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18
  • BAC: 0.033%
  • Number of Breweries: 5


  • How to Say “Beer”: piwa
  • How to Order a Beer: ÿekelik piwa, ÿaranmak
  • How to Say “Cheers”: saglyk
  • Toasting Etiquette: N/A


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 9%
  • Wine: 39%
  • Spirits: 52%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 2.33
  • Unrecorded: 2.30
  • Total: 4.63
  • Beer: 0.21

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 2.3 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Stable
  • Excise Taxes: N/A
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Sales Restrictions: N/A
  • Advertising Restrictions: N/A
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: N/A

Patterns of Drinking Score: 3

Prohibition: None


Saint Vincent & The Grenadines Beer

Today in 1979, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gained their Independence from the United Kingdom.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Breweries

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: Caribbean Breweries Association (CBA)

National Regulatory Agency: None

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Not Known

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.05%


  • Full Name: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Government Type: Parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Language: English, French patois
  • Religion(s): Protestant 75% (Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%), Roman Catholic 13%, other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant)
  • Capital: Kingstown
  • Population: 103,537; 194th
  • Area: 389 sq km, 204th
  • Comparative Area: Twice the size of Washington, DC
  • National Food: Roasted Breadfruit and Fried Jack Fish
  • National Symbols: St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona Guildingii); Soufriere Tree
  • Nickname: Gems of the Antilles; Jewels of the Caribbean
  • Affiliations: UN, Commonwealth, OAS
  • Independence: From the UK, October 27, 1979


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18
  • BAC: 0.05%
  • Number of Breweries: 1


  • How to Say “Beer”: beer
  • How to Order a Beer: One beer, please
  • How to Say “Cheers”: cheers
  • Toasting Etiquette: N/A


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 43%
  • Wine: 2%
  • Spirits: 54%
  • Other: 1%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 4.94
  • Unrecorded: 0.50
  • Total: 5.44
  • Beer: 2.55

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 4.9 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Increase
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Sales Restrictions: Time, places, specific events, intoxicated persons, petrol stations
  • Advertising Restrictions: No
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: No

Patterns of Drinking Score: N/A

Prohibition: None


Beer In Ads #724: Among The Hardships Of The 1856 Frontier Was The Taste Of The Beer

Friday’s ad is for Hamm’s, from 1970. What great conceit. “Among the hardships of the 1856 frontier was the taste of the beer. Then came Hamm’s.” But my favorite bits is at the end, where they claim that Hamm’s flavor, such as it is, “runs as deep as ever. And nothing’s come along that can beat it.” It’s a good thing that ad was in 1970, because that statement surely would not stand up to scrutiny today.