Thursday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1914, No. 1 in another series they did in 1914-15 called the “National Heroes Series.” The first one features Otto von Bismarck, who “was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890. In the 1860s he engineered a series of wars that unified the German states, significantly and deliberately excluding Austria, into a powerful German Empire under Prussian leadership.” They also noted his love of liberty, and how much he would have hated “the insolent tyranny of the most odious kind” that would tell its citizens “Thou shalt NOT eat this — thou shalt NOT drink that.”
Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 10 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The tenth one features Robert Morris, who apparently used his personal fortune to pay for part of the revolution. He also signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And like the rest of the men in this series, “he was ever a moderate drinking of light wines and barley brews and opposed Prohibition Laws, which make the many suffer for the faults of the few.”
Tuesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 9 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The ninth one features Charles Carroll III, a.k.a. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who was the only catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence, and was last remaining signator in 1832, when he finally died at age 95. His catholicism, apparently, made him a champion of religious liberty, and his hospitality “was nothing short of royal,” being “a lifetime user of light wines and barley brews.”
Monday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 8 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The eighth one features The Pinckneys — Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Charles Pinckney. They were both from South Carolina, and first cousins, once removed. Charles Cotesworth, known as “C.C.,” was the older of the two, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He also ran for president twice, as the Federalist Party candidate, but lost both times. The other Charles also signed the Constitution, and served as Governor of South Carolina, too. If you think political dynasties are recent phenomenon in America, seven people he’s related to have been governor, as well, in the 218 years since he left office. But was a Democrat, unlike his cousin the Federalist. Happily, they shared a belief in “the moderate use of light wines and barley brews.”
Sunday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 7 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The seventh one features Thomas Jefferson, and tells the story of Jefferson and writing the Declaration of Independence along with some platitudes on his love of liberty, and beer, of course. It also includes what he wrote in a letter to James Madison. “A Captain Miller is about to settle in this country and establish a brewery. I wish to see this beverage become common.”
Saturday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 6 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The sixth one features John Hancock, and tells the story of Hancock and his contributions to American Independence, and even his indirect help with the constitution, including how certain they are that “he would have voted NO to prohibition enactments.”
Friday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 5 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The fifth one features Benjamin Franklin, and tells the story of Franklin in fairly gushing terms but, to their credit, at least they don’t mention that “quote.” And I love that they characterize his alcohol consumption as a “moderate user.”
Thursday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 4 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The fourth one features Gouveneur Morris (though it’s usually spelled Gouverneur Morris), and tells the story of Morris being a part of creating the Constitution, referring to him as both the “father of the American decimal system” and the “originator of the copper cent.” In reality, he was “widely credited as the author of the document’s preamble, and has been called the ‘Penman of the Constitution.'” But I guess that doesn’t sound quite as good as the “Father of the Penny.” Although there’s also this to add to his legacy. “He loved society, and his hospitality was famous. All his life he drank the creative brews of malt and hops.”
Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 3 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The third one features Alexander Hamilton, and tells the story of Hamilton creating the Constitution, and his contributions to creating credit. And apparently he was also a fan of beer. “During Hamilton’s lifetime he used his great influence to encourage and protect the brewing industry. Among all the Fathers of the Republic none knew better than he that honestly-brewed barley-malt beers make for true temperance.”
Today is the birthday of American illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell (February 3, 1894-November 8, 1978) one of the 20th centuries most famous artists. Known for his wholesome depictions of everyday American life, his paintings appeared on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post for almost fifty years, and he frequently did work involving the Boy Scouts, Boys’ Life and such patriotic subjects as “The Four Freedoms.” For a long time, I had assumed his conspicuous absence from the “Beer Belongs” series of ads that the brewing industry did from the 1940s through the 1960s employing some of the best known illustrators of the day, was because he wanted to maintain his wholesome image. But I later found out that he had done quite a bit of advertising work, including for at least one beer company, the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.
There’s also “Man with Sandwich and Glass of Beer,” which I believe was painted for an unspecified beer ad, between 1947 and 1950. I far as I can tell, it was never used, as I’ve been unable to turn up the illustration in any actual advertisement. If someone as famous as Rockwell had done the ad, it would be highly collectible and would turn up somewhere.
But several years earlier, in 1930, he did do an illustration for the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., and specifically for their brand, Schmidt’s City Club Beer, which they started brewing in the 1920s as a non-alcoholic beer, though after 1933 it became a golden lager.
The City Club Beer label in 1933.
It looks like they continued to use the image, and who can blame them, for years afterwards, both in other ads and merchandising. For example, they used the artwork as the back of a deck of promotional playing cards for the brewery in 1954.
I’d seen the ad before, and searched in vain for a decent size image of it, finding only small ones. But then over the summer, “thrifting” (which is what my son calls going to yard sales and thrift shops), I found a coffee table book of Norman Rockwell’s advertising work published in 1985. And lo and behold, there was the beer ad. So I picked up the book, scanned the ad, and here it is below in all of its glory. One of the few beer ads by one of the best known illustrators in America. It includes all his trademark folksy charm, and it still relatively subtle for an advertisement, which the wooden case of beer being the most prominent sign of the brand. The bottles have the City Club labels on them, but they’re hard to see sitting on the table. A very cool ad and definitely one of my favorites.