Beer In Ads #2069: Any Minute Now …

Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1940. In this ad, entitled “Any Minute Now … It may happen to you!,” although the subtitle (which appears above the larger title) may go to the heart of the ad, and it reads “What Are Your Chances …” of at least four things occurring. This ad has an actual author’s byline, Herbert M. Alexander, along with a short resume, and then a two-page article about chance, statistic, superstition and luck, before naturally finishing up with how Schlitz fits into this line of reasoning, as a perfect accompaniment to such great occasions.


Ballantine’s Literary Ads: Ellery Queen

Between 1951 and 1953, P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, or simply Ballentine Beer, created a series of ads with at least thirteen different writers. They asked each one “How would you put a glass of Ballantine Ale into words?” Each author wrote a page that included reference to their beer, and in most cases not subtly. One of them was Ellery Queen, who’s best known for writing a series of mystery stories.

Ellery Queen is not actually one person, but two: Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee. They “were American cousins from Brooklyn, New York who wrote, edited, and anthologized detective fiction under the pseudonym of Ellery Queen. The writers’ main fictional character, whom they also named Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer and amateur detective who helps his father, Richard Queen, a New York City police inspector, solve baffling murders.” Today is the birthday of Frederic Dannay (October 20, 1905–September 3, 1982), and his co-writer, Manfred Bennington Lee, was born the same year (January 11, 1905–April 3, 1971).


Their piece for Ballantine was done as if it was one of their cases, but it was less a mystery and more a simple contrast of two unrelated events that both took place the same year. It seems a bit forced, actually, and comes across like pure propaganda, even more so than the other ads in this series.


1840: Edgar A. Poe was preparing to give the world its first detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” an all-time classic marked by three great qualities: Purity of conception, full-bodied plot, and a style and technique of matchless flavor.

1840: Peter Ballantine created his unique ale and sampled his first brew. Setting down his glass, he exclaimed, “Purity!” A second sip made him exclaim, “Body!” a third, “Flavor!”

Edgar Allen Poe’s Tale, Peter Ballantine’s Ale — American classics with the same three great qualities. Even the Ballantine Ale trade-mark carries out the coincidence of “threes.” For the triple overlapping rings made when Peter Ballantine set down his moist glass on the table top created his 3-ring trade-mark. To this day it sets the standard for Purity, Body and Flavor to connoisseurs of ale everywhere.


Beer In Ads #2067: Who Said It First?

Tuesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1939. In this ad, entitled “Who Said It First?,” nine well-known expressions (though to be fair, a few of them I hadn’t heard before) are given their origin stories, explaining where they came from, and then the ad ends with just one more, number ten. That last one is “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous,” yet curiously, the story doesn’t involve the Schlitz marketing department or ad agency.


Beer In Ads #2066: How To Celebrate A Great Occasion

Monday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1940. In this ad, entitled “How To Celebrate A Great Occasion,” it tells the story of how people have celebrated occasions throughout history. Toward the end of the history lesson, the author wonders what Shakespeare would have thought of bottled Schlitz. Not the question I would have asked, although he also wants to know if Hamlet was mad.


Beer In Ads #2065: Moments We’ll Never Forget

Sunday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1940. In this ad, entitled “Moments We’ll Never Forget …,” is features “Six great explorers recall exciting episodes around the world.” But then there’s one more story. And it’s the moment you first tasted Schlitz. There’s even a sidebar with how bad air is for your beer. Another dense double truck filled with text. These may some of the first advertorials.


Beer In Ads #2063: Favorite Recipes That Go Well With Schlitz

Friday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1939. In this ad, with the ridiculously long title “Favorite Recipes of famous Amateur Chefs that go well with that famous flavor found only in Schlitz. The dense ad includes short bios and recipes from ten people (they’re hard to read) and this interesting blanket statement. “The epicure prefers a beer that is neither sweet nor bitter.” I think that depends on what he’s doing with it, how he’s using it or what food he’s pairing or cooking it with. Of course, this was 1939, and Sean Paxton and Bruce Paton hadn’t been born yet.


Beer In Ads #2062: About A Brown Bottle

Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1938. In this ad, it tells the tale of a man from Kansas in India for work, and amazed at the foreign land’s beauty and strangeness. But hen his “boy” brings him a brown bottle of Schlitz, cooled in a waterfall, and all is right with the world once more. In fact, he believes that beer saved his life. That’s a pretty impressive beer.


Beer In Ads #2061: A Geographic Hall Of Fame

Wednesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1939. In this ad, it’s an early form of listicle creating “A Geographic Hall of Fame,” meaning what certain places are famous for. Some are obvious, like cigars from Havana or Concord grapes. Others seem less well known, at least to me, like sausage from Bolgna or china from Dresden. (I certainly didn’t see a lot of plates and cups when I was there, though to be fair I wasn’t really looking for china, either.) Naturally, the ad is making the case that what Milwaukee should be in the Hall of Fame for is beer, and not just any beer, but Schlitz.