Beer In Ads #2211: Which Road, America?


Friday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1939. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, Uncle Sam stands on a hill, looking out over America laid out before him, with at least three distinct paths to choose from, wondering to himself which one to choose. What three paths, you may be asking.

  1. The Dead-End Road to Excess
  2. The Harsh Road of Intolerance
  3. The Straight Road Ahead, Which is the Way of Moderation and Sobriety

Pretty subtle, eh? After all, beer “is the bulwark of moderation, according to the verdict of history, the weight of scientific evidence, and the everyday experience of millions.”

USBF-1939-which-road

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