Beer In Ads #1451: It’s The Little Things That Make Life Friendly


Friday’s ad is another one for Budweiser, from 1941. So if you thought Budweiser advertising with a puppy was a recent phenomenon, your were wrong, as demonstrated by this World War 2-era ad. And not just one, but five adorable puppies. The ads end with this gem. “And there’s always Budweiser — the Friendly Host to a of friends.”

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Beer In Ads #1450: The Chief Of All


Thursday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1910. This is an old ad, when clearly sensitivities were different. But check out the questionable ad copy, which few probably even thought twice about over 100 years ago. “Just as the American Indian chose his chieftain for deeds of valor in war, and wisdom in times of peace,
So has Budweiser, because of its Quality and Purity, been chosen by the American of today the Chief of all bottled beers.” It’s also interesting that a selling point was that was bottled only in St. Louis.

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Patent No. 135245A: Improvement In Brewing Beer And Ale

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Today in 1873, US Patent 135245 A was issued, an invention of Louis Pasteur, for his “Improvement in Brewing Beer and Ale.” There’s no Abstract, but Pasteur explains in the description that this is a “process of brewing without the presence in the wort of atmosphericair, my invention has for its object to produce a better quality and greater quantity of beer from the same quantity and quality of wort, and to afford a beer which shall also embody the quality of greater degree of unalterableness during time and changes of climate, &c., in transportation and use; and to these ends my invention consists in expelling the air from the boiled wort while confined in a closed vessel or closed vessels, and then cooling it by the application of sprays of water to the exterior of such vessel or vessels, as will be hereinafter more fully explained.”

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Beer In Ads #1447: Great Ballplayers Drink Lite


Monday’s ad is Miller Lite, from 1982. Today is also the birthday of Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker, who arguably was at least partially responsible for the success of lower-calorie diet beers with his wildly successful ads for the beer in the 1980s. It was a marvel of modern advertising and I’m still amazed to this day that it worked in convincing people to drink an even more watered-down version of the macro lagers of the day. But Uecker was certainly great in the ads, and I loved him in the “Major League” movies, too.

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Beer In Ads #1446: Decoupage Bud Girl


Sunday’s ad is yet another one for Budweiser, this time from the 1970s. While the ad, or sign, is from the Seventies, I suspect that the image is most likely much older, possibly from the late 19th century. But the decoupage sign? That’s pure 1970s. Even my mom got caught up in the craft craze, decoupaging all manner of do-dads when I was a kid. So this would have seemed right at home in that decade.

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Beer In Ads #1445: Why America Prefers Budweiser


Saturday’s ad is another one for Budweiser, this time from 1936. While the ad is shortly after the end of prohibition, and I can only imagine beer lovers were pretty excited to once more be able to legally buy beer, I’m still not convinced Bud’s success had anything to with “age-old taste.” Also, as the ad suggests, when did Anheuser-Busch employ monks?

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Beer Birthday: The Beer Can

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Today is “Beer Can Appreciation Day,” because on this day 80 years ago — January 24, 1935 — the humble beer can was sold for the very first time. So join me in wishing the beer can a happy birthday.

Below is an article I wrote about beer cans nine years ago telling the story of their history.

The beer can debuted in 1935, when an otherwise obscure brewery from New Jersey — Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. — test-marketed them in Virginia, as far from their home market as possible. Breweries may have been initially reluctant, but the public loved cans — they were an overnight sensation. By the end of that first year, Schlitz (then one of America’s biggest brewers) had their beer in cans and every other brewery quickly followed suit.

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The beer can was invented by American Can, who patented “Vinylite,” a plastic lining for cans marketed under the brand name “Keglined.” Over the years, the technology continued to improve, from tin to all-aluminum, from cone tops to flat tops, from clumsy openers to pull tops, yet one seemingly intractable problem remained: metal turbity. That’s the technical term for metal leeching into the beer, and consumers increasingly complained about the tainted metallic flavor in canned beer.

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But then craft beer became popular, and with it better beer evangelists preached that canned beer could never be good. And that remained conventional wisdom for decades, made virtually dogma. During that same time, however, research by the can companies solved the metal turbidity problem. Using an organic polymer — really a water-based epoxy acrylic — that was sprayed inside each can during manufacturing, it could now honestly be said that the beer never touched the metal.

Unfortunately, the only beer in cans was not the type that most beer geeks would willingly quaff. The other great hurdle to getting craft beer in a can was the cost. You could buy a cheap, used bottling line but canning lines were quite massive and very expensive. And the people who made cans were used to selling them to big breweries, and so the minimum run for a can was something on the order of a full railroad car, too many and too expensive for even the biggest microbreweries.

But then the bottom fell out of microbrewing, and by the late-1990s equipment suppliers were also feeling the pinch. Hoping to survive the economic downturn, Canada’s Cask Brewing Systems created an affordable solution. They designed a small manual canning line that was cheaper than the average bottling line and persuaded Ball Corporation (a leading can manufacturer) to significantly reduce their minimum orders. All they had to do was convince someone to try canning their beer.

And so Cask started appearing at trade shows and repeatedly sending literature to breweries. When Dale Katechis, of Oskar Blues, in Lyons, Colorado, first read the pitch, he “just laughed and laughed,” thinking there’s “no way this can be done.” But the more he looked into it, the less he laughed. A few months later — in 2002 — Dale’s Pale Ale was released, the first craft beer to be hand-canned. By 2005, Oskar Blues was the biggest brewpub in the U.S. and Dale’s was declared by the New York Times to be the best pale ale in America.

The Oskar Blues team became evangelists for canned beer with the slogan “the canned-beer apocalypse.” Other small breweries noticed Dale’s success and he was only too happy to show them the light. Today, there are nearly forty [in 2006] craft brewers hand-canning their beer.

There are almost as many kinds of beer in cans as there are styles these days, too, from extreme, strong offerings like Surly’s Furious (a 100-IBU Imperial IPA) and Old Chubb (a Scotch Ale) to more unusual beers like Maui Brewing’s CoCoNut Porter and 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon to lighter lagers like Sly Fox’s Pikeland Pils and Steamwoks Steam Engine Lager. And now that New Belgium Brewing, one of the largest American craft brewers, is canning their popular Fat Tire Amber Ale, expect to see many more beers in cans in the future.

The biggest challenge is unmaking the dogmatic perception of beer in cans as an evil. It’s a persistent prejudice, but is slowly beginning to change as the advantages to canned beer become more widely known. They keep out all UV light, avoiding the skunky taste of clear and green glass. Cans have lower oxygen levels, meaning longer shelf life. They won’t break; they chill faster and can be taken more places, especially where glass is prohibited. And they’re more environmentally friendly, using less packaging plus more of the can is recyclable, with more used in manufacturing recycled cans. Cans are also lighter, resulting in lower transportation costs and fewer fossil fuels needed.

But in the end, the only thing that matters is how the beer tastes. Side-by-side can vs. draft taste tests reveal that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference. That, coupled with the real advantages of the packaging, means that craft beer in cans is where the future of craft beer is heading.

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Shaun O’Sullivan, co-owner of 21st Amendment, showing off one of his early can designs. 21A was the third brewery in California to can their beer.

When I originally wrote that article, around two dozen small breweries were canning their beer, and when I first posted this in 2011 that number had quadrupled, with over 100 small brewers canning their beer. In 2015, the Canned Beer Database lists 480 breweries offering their beer in cans. It’s great to see good beer in cans become more and more common, and we should continue to see more canned beer from craft brewers in the future. Why not pick up some today and see for yourself how good it now is from a can, especially as we celebrate “Beer Can Appreciation Day.”

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Beer In Ads #1444: Be Sure All The Essential B Vitamins Give You A Full Day’s Work


Friday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1943. This World War 2 ad, while people were rationing, wants to ensure you get all of your B vitamins so you can keep on working or fighting. The imagery is fairly surreal, with a planet-sized clock with a ramp of working people lined up around it, creating a Saturn-like appearance. At the end of the line is a soldier, sailor, a construction worker who brings his own sledgehammer with him, a female member of the military, a farmer, another soldier with a pack on his back, a businessman, and so on ad infinitum. And the ad isn’t even about beer, but the brewer’s yeast which they supply to pharmaceutical companies who in turn use it to make Vitamin B pills. Yay yeast!

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