Beer In Ads #56: Dr. Seuss For Narragansatt

Here’s some bonus Beer In Ads for today, because Dr. Seuss — whose birthday is today — also created ads for the Narragansatt Brewery in Rhode Island during the 1940s. The brewery opened in 1890, but closed in 1981, and then the brand reappeared again in 2005.

Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, early in his career did advertising work for various companies, such as Schaefer beer and Narragansatt. I have yet one more fun Dr. Seuss and beer post planned for today, so stay tuned.

A “Gangway For Gansett!” beer tray for Narragansatt beer done by Dr. Suess.

A coaster with Chief Gansatt and the tagline “Too Good To Miss.”

Narragansatt also apparently made a Bock, as well. This Dr. Seuss poster was done around 1942.

The new Narrgansatt also has some additional print ads that Dr. Seuss did for them. Though they’re small and fuzzy, they’re unmistakably his work. There’s two ads here and one more here. The book The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss also includes some information about Geisel’s role in the Narragansatt beer campaigns beginning at page 226 (and there’s also more examples).

But one of the most fascinating revelations from the Narragansatt Beer website is the following:

We found was both his father, Theodor Robert Geisel, and grandfather Geisel were brewers. In fact his German immigrant grandfather owned the Kalmbach and Geisel Brewery, or “Come Back and Guzzle” by the locals, in Springfield. In 1894 it was renamed the Highland Brewery and five years later it became part of the Springfield Breweries. But in 1919 on the day Theodor Robert became president, prohibition forced the brewery to close forever. His father got a job as the city’s Parks Superintendent, but Theodor Seuss must have never forgotten how prohibition forced his family business to close. While attending Dartmouth College during prohibition he was arrested for throwing a drinking party and kicked off the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine. He continued to secretly submit works signed “Seuss.” This is the first record of Theodor Geisel using the “Suess” pseudonym which is both his middle and mother’s maiden name. During WWII he created anti-prohibition political cartoons and developed the Chief Gansett ads [for Narragansatt].


  1. says

    hey, i have that tray! we should put it up in the shop.
    Narragnsett made a whole slew of beers at one time, before they fell into the regional beer brewer trap and tried to be budweiser (and schlitz, pabst, et al). Haven’t tried the newest incarnation of the narragansett brewery but would like to.

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