The Muppets Drink Lagunitas IPA

As I’ve revealed many times here, I’ve been a huge fan of The Muppets since I was a kid. I’ve even gotten my own kids to love them, as well, showing them the old Muppet Show on DVD, along with all of the films. So imagine my delight when ABC announced a new Muppet Show called simply “the muppets” that debuted last month. So far it’s been pretty good, with their signature bad puns, musical numbers, celebrity cameos and much of the same type of humor that I loved in the 1970s. Plus, they’re making fun of reality shows, which as a genre I absolutely loathe, so that’s a bonus.

With the kids schedule, and mine, we Tivo almost everything and finally got around to watching Episode 4, Pig Out, yesterday. If you don’t have Hulu, try Putlocker or, depending on your cable provider, the ABC website.

The episode’s plot revolves around the staff unwinding after hard days dealing with their insufferable boss, Miss Piggy, who is miffed she’s never been invited to one of these after parties. She manipulates Kermit into geting her invited with the promise that she’ll turn them down. Then, as you’ve probably guessed, she accepts and everyone assumes that the evening will go downhill fast.

They go to a karaoke bar, and indeed it is quite awkward at the beginning. In fact the bar is called “Rowlf’s,” as you can see on the beer mugs they’re shown drinking out of. Rowlf, a brown shaggy, piano-playing dog, was one of the very first Muppet characters back in the 1960s, so it makes sense that he’d own a bar in the new incarnation.

But then Ed Helms unexpectedly arrives at the bar and things begin to liven up. There’s much drinking and karaoke singing — the Swedish Chef’s turn at the mic is particularly memorable. Halfway through the evening Helms’ is leading a sing-a-long to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” when at one of the tables in the bar, something caught my eye. One of the more obscure Muppets, Chip, and the Swedish Chef were drinking Lagunitas IPA! Chip was drinking out of a mug but the bottle sat on the table while the Swedish Chef was drinking straight from the bottle.


It’s only there for a few seconds, but there’s no doubt what it is. If you don’t think that trademark is important, or that typefaces and fonts can, or should, be protected, both my wife and my son immediately recognized the bottle when I showed it to them as being from Lagunitas, and all you can see of the label is the single letter “I” on the sideways bottle.


You can also see humans in the bar holding bottles of Lagunitas IPA throughout the scenes shown in Rowlf’s. They’re all quick cuts but it’s still unmistakable. The Muppets definitely drink Lagunitas IPA. Nice to see my local brewery’s beer on a show I love.

Cartoon Madness

Okay, here’s a subject near and dear to my heart, and one that royally pisses me off when it’s spun this way. Eater had an article earlier this month entitled The Boozy Underbelly of Saturday Morning Cartoons, whose unfortunate title Alcohol Justice gleefully tweeted, since it plays into their propaganda machine so nicely. But the article is largely bullshit, wrapped up in questionable science and ignoring the history and reality of the subject matter.

I’ve been a cartoon lover all of my life, and still am, despite the fact that many propagandists seem to believe that cartoons are only for children, a fact easily demolished by reality. That’s the position they take time and time again whenever a cartoon — gasp — shows up on a beer label. But this nonsense is taken a step father by Sarah Baird, whose title alone is badly misleading. Many of the cartoons she refers to in her article pre-date television and many more were originally aired before a film, and later repackaged for Saturday morning television. The earliest cartoon series, from Disney, Fleischer, Warner Brothers, MGM, Lantz, Van Beuren, Terrytown and others, were created to run before a feature-length film, along with a newsreel. They were made for every movie, not just children’s movies and as such could include subject-matter that today we might consider inappropriate for kids. But instead she says:

America’s classic cartoon canon—from Walt Disney to Merry Melodies—is rife with instances of drinking and drunkenness. Whether or not we were aware of it as children, cartoons have long been just as much for adults as for kids, with tongue-in-cheek humor, satirical pop culture references, and illicit behaviors like drinking and smoking that (likely) sailed over our heads as impressionable youths.

But that’s wrong. We didn’t miss those references as kids, they were edited out of most cartoons when they were repackaged for television. Entire cartoons never made it to TV because their content wasn’t for kids, and too much might have to be cut. You can find many of these “Uncensored Cartoons,” which now exist on DVD collections, and are still rarely aired on TV. But you can more easily find these on the internet these days, not to mention because some of the ridiculous things cut are no longer considered something we need to shield our kids from.

Later she claims the reason for this is because “[t]he surprisingly adult themes broached by cartoons reflected a need to appeal to both a slapstick-loving child and a (slightly jaded) adult, as escape-hungry moviegoers young and old flocked to the theater.” No, they didn’t. They reflected what adults would find funny. People at that time rarely thought the way we do today, that we have to coddle children and protect their innocence the way we helicopter them today. If parents took their kids to a movie, they did so knowing there was a cartoon beforehand. They didn’t think, “gee, I wonder if the cartoon will be okay for my child.” And maybe it wasn’t, by today’s standards, but you can’t examine the past without addressing how they thought about this issue, and not how we think about them today. To do so is to miss a lot.

For example, she singles out Mickey Mouse.

One of the first cartoons to feature drinking hit the silver screen in 1929, just a year after seminal animation classic Steamboat Willie. The Gallopin’ Gaucho (the second-ever film to feature Mickey Mouse) shows Mickey drinking a comically large, frothy mug of beer at a cantina, guzzling it down before attempting to woo the high-heel clad Minnie.

Later in the cartoon, Mickey finds his trusty steed—an ostrich—has overindulged in beer, the spaghetti-like bird wriggling, collapsing and hiccupping much to Mickey’s chagrin. This trend of Mickey’s animal companions hitting the sauce continues during Mickey in Arabia (1937), when our hero’s pet camel slurps down the entirety of a beer barrel.

But here’s the thing. While I can’t find information about the later two, Steamboat Willie played before the film Gang War. Gang War! It’s not exactly G-rated fare. G-rated didn’t even exist until around 1968, when they no longer showed cartoons before the movie. And it is also fairly typical in the way that Arabs are portrayed, which is not particularly flattering, to say the least. The point is, these were not intended for kids.

A screen capture from Gallopin’ Gaucho, and you can watch the cartoon on my earlier post Mickey Mouse Drinking A Beer.

She apparently finds support for this G-Rated nonsense from a study published in the journal Pediatrics entitled Depiction of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances in G-rated animated feature films. But in the abstract it is claimed that the “content of all G-rated animated feature films released in theaters between 1937 and 2000, recorded in English, and available on videocassette in the United States by October 31, 2000, was reviewed for portrayals of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances and their use.” But no G-Rated film existed before 1968, which is when the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system was instituted to replace the Hays Code, which had been in place since 1930. So how many of the 81 films they watched actually had a “G-Rating” and how many did they just assume did because Disney made it, or whatever other criteria they made up? It’s hard to believe people take these so-called “studies” seriously. And this was done by the Harvard School of Public Health. Here was their conclusion: “The depiction of alcohol and tobacco use in G-rated animated films seems to be decreasing over time. Nonetheless, parents should be aware that nearly half of the G-rated animated feature films available on videocassette show alcohol and tobacco use as normative behavior and do not convey the long-term consequences of this use.” Gee, I wonder if the change in regulations could account for the decrease? I wonder if the pope is catholic, too.

Yet another study — who gives these people money to do such ridiculous things? — looked at “1,221 animated cartoons … to determine the prevalence of alcohol-related content; how, if at all, the prevalence changed between 1930 and 1996.” That study, Alcohol-Related Content of Animated Cartoons: A Historical Perspective, in which their “investigation revealed that 9.3 percent of cartoons from the era have some form of alcohol-related content, but that liquor’s presence has been on a steady decline over the year.” Again, without context, they report these facts without any historical understanding of cartoons, it seems. Of course, this one was done by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which was created in 1970 by a senator who was a recovering alcohol so it’s not exactly unbiased. The NIAAA is looking for alcoholic links everywhere.

According to Anderson, this “data also shed light on how alcohol was most frequently depicted in cartoons, with almost half of animated characters drinking alone and showing no physical side effects to their drinking.” Um, not to be a noodge, but cartoons are, if nothing else, entertainment. Why the fu@k should they be expected to show consequences in every single case? For a majority of people who drink responsibly and in moderation, there are no consequences. Why can’t the cartoon simply be reflecting that? Because they’re not PSAs, they’re fu@king cartoons. Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

Just look at one paragraph, entitled “Reasons for drinking:”

The purported reasons for cartoon characters’ use of alcohol were rather varied. The single most common explanation of cartoon characters’ use of alcohol was that they simply enjoyed the taste of alcohol or because they liked to drink, which accounted for 12.2% of all use portrayals. The next most common reason for using alcohol was to become drunk (7.8%), followed by using alcohol to be more sociable or “to be part of the crowd” (5.6%). It is worth mentioning that in 40.0% of all alcohol use portrayals, drinking occurred for no reason whatsoever. That is, based on the cartoon’s events and the context in which the alcohol use occurred, there was no inference to be made as to why the drinking was happening.

So it basically mirrored real life. Why exactly do they seem to imply that cartoons need to explain “why the drinking was happening?” Is that necessary because it’s a cartoon? Because I’ve never heard it told that in a live action film that one must reveal every motivation behind a character’s actions.

One time the kind of Cartoon Propaganda that these folks would have approved of did air, on Tiny Toon Adventures, it was such a train wreck it was only shown one time and has since been banned, for reasons unclear to me.

Here’s their bullshit conclusion:

Ultimately, we believe that the frequent inclusion of alcohol-related content in animated cartoons, coupled with the frequently pro-drinking messages about alcohol use that the cartoons provide, combine to tell audiences that alcohol is a normal, positive aspect of life. Cartoons tell people that drinking only sometimes has an effect on the drinker and that many of the effects that are most likely to occur (e.g., hiccupping, increased happiness or sociability, increased relaxation) are positive in nature. This conclusion is quite similar to that reached by Penkoff. With these types of messages being most indicative of the kinds of things that people learn about alcohol from watching animated cartoons, it is not surprising that young people are interested in and willing to experiment with alcoholic beverages. With cartoons showing alcohol to be an acceptable, normal part of everyday living that is associated with traits that our culture values and by associating few truly negative consequences with alcohol use, why wouldn’t young people want to experiment with drinking?!

First of all, they define “frequent inclusion” by stating that “depictions of alcoholic beverages were found in 5.6%” of the cartoons, which few reasonable people would agree could be described as frequent. They seem worried about positive associations and cartoon watchers seeing some, maybe even numerous, instances of drinking where nothing bad happened. This may not fit with their world view, but it certainly reflects the reality of our society, where some people cannot handle alcohol, but where most people can and do so throughout their lives without incident. Some even grow up to be president.

One thing seems clear. When not wearing a lab coat, or not already predisposed to dislike alcohol, drinking can be, and often is, a fun and pleasant experience. And that’s the case for a majority of adults, so why wouldn’t our entertainment reflect that? Cartoons were originally designed for adults, and they continue to be made by them, too. Cartoons have always been caricatures of real life, and until some idiots foist another prohibition on us, they’ll continue to make fun of us humans, in every way imaginable. As they even admit, such drinking in cartoons has declined dramatically, again except for shows like The Simpsons and Adult Swim, which were designed for an adult or mixed adult audience.

At least the Eater author admits that cartoons have become too sterile by trying to remove anything that might rattle the little one’s delicate psyche (even if it’s more often the parent’s psyche that needs a whack upside the head). And in the end, acknowledges perhaps why cartoons continue to show character’s drinking.

At its core, there’s something that’s innately cartoon-like about being inebriated. There have been times after one-bourbon-too-many that I’ve felt as if I was Porky Pig wobbling my way home, each hiccup a tiny bubble ready to pop in front of my (blurry) nose. When inebriated, things are sillier and wonkier, as if we’re once again finding our sea legs like a cartoonish, disproportioned foal.

Exactly, cartoons do a much better job than live action at showing how we feel when we drink. And I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. Personally, I’m going to binge-watch Archer, which is the best cartoon to depict drinking, and so much more made … well, maybe ever. It’s that good. Of course, even I won’t let my kids watch Archer … at least not yet. That’s why it airs at 11 PM and includes a disclaimer before each episode that it was made for adults. Just like the first Mickey Mouse.


Beer Can Dads 2015

I posted these a few years ago, but given that it’s Father’s Day I figured today was a good day to take another look at them. Around 2011, the good folks at Every Guyed designed eight beer can dads.


Here was the idea:

To celebrate Father’s Day, EveryGuyed and Moxy Creative House have teamed up once again to deliver the second installment of the ‘Cheers!’. This time we had creative director Glenn Michael raise a glass — and his brush — to 8 iconic animated dads, re-envisioning them as beer cans.

When you were a kid, Father’s Day was a pretty boring affair. Now you’re of age, and all of a sudden you have the chance to do something with your dad that he’ll actually enjoy: share a cold one together.

See if you can guess all of the cartoon dads. You can see all eight of them in the slideshow above. The answers can found at the bottom of the original post I did.

Looking at this again, I still want my own dad can. What would yours look like?

Beer In Ads #1535: Asahi Anime

Friday’s ad is for Asahi, from sometime over the last decade or so. It’s hard to say since Japanese anime or manga art is often so timeless. Animation in the form of anime and manga is incredibly popular in Japan, and became increasingly so in the U.S. from the 1980s on. Beyond the cheesecake factor, it’s a simple, and familiar beer advertising image, of a woman on the beach in a bikini. I’m sure that music means something, but I don’t recognize the tune. The woman also may be a familiar character from a popular manga book but I don’t recognize her either.


Mickey Mouse Drinking A Beer

Today is the day when Steamboat Willie debuted in 1928, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, the one that made the Disney company the entertainment powerhouse that it is today. But even though Steamboat Willie is the famous one, it actually wasn’t the first Mickey Mouse cartoon created. Plane Crazy was actually the first one made, and The Gallopin’ Gaucho was the second, but both were shelved to work on Steamboat Willie, and specifically to add a synchronized soundtrack, which is what helped make Mickey Mouse so famous.


But the Gallopin’ Gaucho was notable for one other important reason. In the March 1929 cartoon, four years before the repeal of Prohibition, Mickey Mouse can be seen drinking a mug of beer. And not just drinking it, but really putting one away. But as he as south of the border, at the bar and restaurant called “Cantina Argentina,” he probably wasn’t breaking any laws.


The original, of course, was in black and white.


Below is the entire cartoon, though the best version I could find was colorized.

Andy Capp On Beer Tourism

Andy Capp, the British comic strip by Reg Smyth has been running in London newspapers, and around the world, since 1957. Even though Smyth himself passed away in 1998, the strip continued on, done by a trio of writers and artists, Roger Kettle, Lawrence Goldsmith and Roger Mahoney. Capp, of course, is a longtime fan of beer, spending much of his time down the pub. Longtime Bulletin reader Miles (thanks Miles) sent me a link to a recent Sunday strip that tackled the newer phenomenon of beer tourism, relevant to me because when it arrived in my inbox I was indeed touring breweries in Belgium. Enjoy.


Buddy’s Beer Garden

Yesterday Ken Weaver tweeted out he was watching Buddy’s Beer Garden. An inveterate animation lover, I wanted to see it, too. Buddy’s Beer Garden is part of the Looney Tunes series from Warner Brothers, and features Buddy, in the second of the 23 cartoons he starred in.


Buddy’s Beer Garden’s is a fun cartoon celebrating the end of Prohibition in 1933. The humor is typical of animation of the time, with lots of sight gags and animated transitions (a common technique in the 1930s). In this one, “Buddy dons a variety of costumes and hawks his ‘beer that brings good cheer.'”


“Watch what you’re doin’ ya mug! “Don’t call me a mug, you mug!”


I’m sure this would drive the prohibitionists today into a mad rage. “But what about the kiddies,” they’d cry (as they always do). But this was made in 1933, when cartoons, believe it or not, were made for adults, and were shown, along with a newsreel, before feature films at a movie theatre. That’s why there’s so much adult humor. It’s also why the hold up so well today, because they don’t pander or talk down to the audience. They’re not trying to be educational, kid-friendly or have a moral. Even when I was a kid, when they were heavily edited for television, they were still better than most cartoons made for TV.

See for yourself, here’s the cartoon, Buddy’s Beer Garden, below:

Buddy Buddie's Beer Garden 1933 Looney… by andythebeagle

Bamforth Beer Cartoons

Having lived on this side of the pond my whole life, I’d never encountered Bamforth’s comic postcards until very recently. The Bamforth company is still in business, but apparently was founded in 1904 as a photography and film studio to make picture postcards, and by the end of the First World War was producing 20 million postcards each year. In 1910, they started creating the comic art postcards. Over the next 90 years, approximately 50,000 comic designs were published, with most of them by just four staff artists — Douglas Tempest, Arnold Taylor, Philip Taylor and Brian Fitzpatrick — along with a few additional freelance artists, like the well-known Donald McGill. According to their history, “by 1960 Bamforth Postcards had become the world’s largest publisher of comic postcards.”

Bamforth’s Postcards were the market leader throughout the twentieth century. Their artists poking fun at every aspect of human activity. They commented on politics, fashion and the changes in social activity and perhaps most famously they invaded the toilet and the bedroom. Sex, in various guises and disguises, was the main subject from the start of the genre.

While sex and being “cheeky” may have been their main focus, beer also figured prominently in quite a few of their postcards.


Quite a few were part of their seaside series, meant to be sent home from vacations.


And still others were just odd.


I’m sure there were many more involving beer, and there were also quite a few depicting pub life. Just poking around eBay and the web, I found a few beer-themed postcards, which you can see in the slideshow below. Enjoy.

The Legend Behind Beer-y Christmas

I thought this was a fun little video, created by Heather Arment of Seattle, Washington, for an advent calendar of beer bottles. Her animated video is entitled The Legend Behind Beer-y Christmas. And since Advent just started on Sunday, this would be a very cool way to celebrate it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if it ever actually was a real product or not. The website, is down for the count. But they obviously spent a lot on the design of the packaging, which was done by Dustin Wallace, and Arment did another video on who the beer advent box works.


Of course, in the end, they were trying to sell a cardboard box, which gives it something of a pet rock vibe.


Perhaps if they had sold them full, but it might be cool to fill one yourself. Although that is a tough commitment for a gift. It requires that the person giving it knows what to fill it with, then has to find the beer to put in it. I think that’s why the pre-packed gift boxes sell so well. All the hard work is already done. All you have to do it buy it.


But I have to confess getting one like this would be a great gift.


Hmm, I wonder if in fall of 2011 this ever saw the light of day? It looks like it didn’t but I subsequently discovered that Heather Arment was also the inventor, and she’s still trying to get them produced through Quirky, which is a website for inventors and their … ahem … quirky inventions. People submit their ideas, and get them posted on the quirky site, and people vote on them. Ideas which get enough votes go to the manufacturing stage and are created and sold, also through the Quirky website, but also at select retailers, too. It looks like her idea for the beer advent box may actually become a reality, though probably not in time for this year’s holidays, because the web page currently says that the “idea has been placed under Expert Review,” which suggests it’s passed one hurdle is on to the next step in their process. So now you know what to get me for the holidays next year.

Hello Kitty, Hello Beer!

Here’s a hilarious marketing development, one that would absolutely never fly in the land of the free and the home of the “think about the children” neo-prohibitionists. If you’ve been the parent of a young daughter, you’re probably already familiar with the marketing juggernaut that is Hello Kitty and her legion of cute minions from Sanrio. It’s hard to think of another character with as much licensed tie-in merchandising as Hello Kitty. She makes Disney look like amateurs. So really, it should come as no surprise then, that Sanrio has licensed Hello Kitty for a series of four fruit beers, brewed by the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.. The four initial fruit beers include Peach, Passion Fruit, Banana and Lemon and come in 330 ml cans.


Bloomberg Businessweek referred to the announcement as Zen and the Art of Crass Marketing, which is surprising since I never really thought of the business press, or indeed the business world generally, as having high moral standards if there was a buck to be made. When you consider that it was big business that sank the country, and the world, into a global recession, then getting a bailout from us, while still collecting their bonuses, I have had time swallowing Bloomberg’s assertion that this is the line that business dare not cross, that this is the one going too far into crassness. If anything, this is pretty harmless and funny.


The ABC News Report is slightly more balanced, and reveals that these “new fruit-flavored cans mark Hello Kitty’s second entry into the world of alcohol. Previously, Hello Kitty wines were licensed in Asia, Europe and the United States.”


I can’t say any of them look particularly good, but one thing most news accounts overlooked is that the beer is actually only 2.3% a.b.v., making them session beers, and actually the opposite of the evil Bloomberg makes them out to be. Also, Kotaku, reviewing the beers, describes them as “closest to Chimay but with stronger fruit flavorings. The fruit isn’t a note or a sense in these beverages but instead the overpowering star of it all.” That’s hard to swallow, but then I haven’t actually tried them and it’s likely I won’t ever have the chance to, not that it will keep me up at night. Still, an odd and twisted development.