Beer In Ads #1233: If You Got To Go, Go Natural

Wednesday’s ad is for Anheuser-Busch brand Natural Light, from 1996. The ad depicts a scene from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, more commonly known as “Custer’s Last Stand,” which took place today in 1876. The ad can be found, oddly enough, in the Autry Library in southern California. Anheuser-Busch apparently created a reproduction of an 1892 pamphlet with the lengthy title Authentic history of the Indian campaign which culminated in “Custer’s last battle,” June 25, 1876 : from comments by General Fry, Captain E.S. Godfrey (Seventh Cavalry, U.S.A.), (volume XLIII, the Century monthly magazine, January, 1892), Captain Charles King, Adjutant-General State of Wisconsin, Olin D. Wheeler, of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and others. The “specially numbered reprint” was done exclusively for the 23rd annual conference of the Little Big Horn Associates, July 18-21, 1996, which was held in St. Louis, Missouri, and included the “Natural History Lesson” ad. The original pamphlet was distributed with another painting, Otto Becker’s Custer’s Last Fight in 1896,” which was used to create a poster in 1896 that AB distributed to its customers and bars, making it the first example of brewery advertising. As a result, it has become one of the most highly sought after pieces of breweriana. This newer painting appears less serious in tone, and there’s no additional information I can find about who created the illustration for the Natural Light ad.


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