Sunday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1977. The ad originally ran in Ebony magazine. “When Do You Say Bud? After the work is done, or right in the middle of the fun.” And by fun, they appear to mean painting.
Saturday’s ad is for National Bohemian Light Beer, from 1959. The syntax in the ad copy just seems odd. “From Chesapeake Bay … land of pleasant living we bring you this quality beer.” Seems like a “ta-da” moment with no payoff, just a picture of a boat, an illustrated beer bottle, and the silhouette of a beer glass containing the ad copy.
Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1963. This is from the “Real Gusto” series that Schlitz ran for a few years in the 1960s. This one featured, unusually, a ginger man, but it was this sentence in the ad copy that really caught my eye. “It’s brewed light (with just the kiss of the hops) yet it doesn’t hem and haw on flavor.” That’s an awesome turn of phrase. Next time I find a weak beer, it will definitely “hem and haw on flavor.”
Wednesday’s ad is for Ballantine Ale, from 1943. “How American it is … to want something better!” Look how happy the woman is that her smug man got her a machine so she can keep washing his clothes. Apparently during World War 2, many people put off spending money on new luxuries and even Ballantine was looking forward with great anticipation to the day when people could go crazy with their spending … like today.
Tuesday’s ad is for Miller High Life, from the 1940s. “A toast to you — with The Champagne of Bottled Beer.” The assembled group drinking beer is celebrating the tradition known as “Burning the Mortgage.” I have heard of these, but I don’t think this is something many people do anymore. Probably because we don’t stay in one house for very long. Nice they got their servent to dress up as the Miller Girl to serve the beer.
Monday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1950. This is from Schlitz’s long-running three-panel “I was curious” series. In this one, a deep sea diver is coaxed out of the water by dangling cans of Schlitz in his face. Once on dry land, he had a beer and a sandwich. I’m not sure if it was the sammy or the beer, but it put a smile on his face. I’m going with the beer.
Sunday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1946. This is for the “Brewing Corporation of America‘s” Carling, based in Cleveland, Ohio.
The ad, with the headline “Dealer’s Choice,” shows a kindly old grocer, the kind that probably never existed, putting single bottles of in her basket as he seems to be staring at her with an odd look on his face. But I do love that hat she’s wearing, and notice she’s also wearing gloves with a short sleeve dress. I guess that’s what “taste-wise customers” wear when they’re buying a “mild, mature ale.”
Here’s another fun historical artifact that I came across when I one of my beer ads was for the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1774, incorporated in 1887, and was apparently acquired by Schmidt’s around 1881. In 1909, Schmidt’s, through their Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company brand, commissioned a local artist, James Preston, to create a series of twelve works depicting pre-revolutionary taverns and inns in or near Philadelphia as way to promote the heritage of the Robert Smith beer brand.
James Moore Preston (1873-1962) was artist and illustrator who trained under Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Preston also did one cover for the “Saturday Evening Post,” in April 1905, although his most active period was during the 1920s. Here, you can read more about Preston’s http://rogallery.com/Preston_James_Moore/Moore_Preston-biography.htmlbiography.
And here’s more about Robert Smith, from an article in Zymurgy magazine by Pennsylvania beer historian Rich Wagner from 1991.
Another brewer who withstood the test of time was Robert Smith. What was to become Robert Smith’s Ale Brewery had its humble beginnings in 1774 when Joseph Potts established a brewery at Fifth and Minor Streets in Philadelphia. During the British occupation of the city, the brewery was seized and used as a barracks.
In 1786 Henry Pepper purchased Potts’ brewery and operated it quite successfully. His wealth and philanthropy were demonstrated when he provided the clock and bell in the tower of Independence Hall. Upon his death in 1898 he donated large sums of money to many charitable and cultural institutions of the city. His son George headed the brewery and directed it successfully before leasing the establishment to Robert Smith.
In 1837 Smith came to America after having served an apprenticeship with the Bass Brewery in Burton-on-Trent, England. He began brewing on St. John Street near the Delaware River. He became acquainted with Pepper and Sickel and in 1845 purchased their brewery.
The Robert Smith India Pale Ale Brewing Company was incorporated in 1887 and moved to a new plant at 38th and Girard (right across the Schuylkill River from “Brewerytown”). It operated until Prohibition as the oldest brewery in continuous operation in America. In 1891 Robert Smith was described as a “hale and hearty” 84-year-old who was still running the brewery. He died two years later and the business was reorganized as the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Co. owned by Schmidt’s Brewery of Philadelphia. The Smith brewery produced mainly ales and stouts. Production figures for the turn of the century are: 1902: 53,521 bbl.; 1905: 61,910 bbl.; 1907: 64,400 bbl. Brands included Tiger Head Ale, XXX Stout, Porter, IPA, Old Mystery, Imperial Burton and English Pale.
In addition to the posters, they also created a short book — more or a pamphlet at 37 pages — with information about the brewery and each of the twelve images.
Here’s the book’s introduction:
Below are all twelve illustrations. In each case, I used the biggest and best image I could find. Below each print I’ve added the text from the book, and it appears that some editions of the posters may have even included that text just below each print.
And here’s the final page of text from the 1909 book.
Saturday’s ad is for Bass Ale, from the 1940s. It’s a curious little ad. The block in the upper righthand corner with “Fishing” on it seems to suggest it was part of a series. I guess either he’s so engrossed in his fishing or he’s had enough Bass Ale that he didn’t even notice a tiny man put a ladder on his back, climbed up and attached a sign to his back. “Great Stuff This Bass”