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.


Historic Beer Birthday: Johann Georg Sohn

Today is the birthday of Johann Georg Sohn (October 20, 1817-October 24, 1876). He was born in Bavaria, but settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1845, he co-founded the Hamilton Brewery, which was later known as the J.G. Sohn & Company Brewery. It was also known as the Clyffside Brewing Co., and used the trade name Feldsbrau. Johann’s sons took over after his death, and it was sold in 1907 and became known as the William G. Sohn Brewing Co. and later the Mohawk Brewing Co. After prohibition, it reopened as the Clyffside Brewing. After World War 2, it was renamed the Red Top Brewing before closing for good in 1958. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find very much biographical information about Sohn, and only a little about his brewery.


Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Clyffside Brewing Company is a defunct brewery in Cincinnati, located on the site of Hamilton Brewery, founded in 1845 by Johann Sohn and George Klotter as the Hamilton Brewery. By 1853, the company becane known as the Klotter, Sohn and Company. In 1866, Sohn bought out Klotter, and Klotter went on to establish his own brewery on Klotter Street. Sohn renamed the brewery the J.G. Sohn & Company Brewery, and it became the tenth largest of its type in Cincinnati. In November 1900, the company was reorganized as the William S. Sohn Brewing Company when Sohn sold out his interest. In 1907, Sohn was purchased by Mohawk Brewery, and was known for its Zinzinnati Beer.


Cincinnati Brewing History has the following to say about the brewery:

George Klotter left the Klotter, Sohn, & Co. Brewery partnership to pursue his own proprietorship, at which point Johann George Sohn brought in Louis Sohngen and Heinrich Schlosser as partners. The new partnership would operate under the name of J.G. Sohn & Co. Brewery. Sohn ran the business until his death in 1876.

After Sohn’s death, leadership of the company was assumed by his sons, J.G. Sohn Jr., William, and J. Edward. J.G. Sohn Jr. died in 1880 and the other two brothers continued to operate the brewery together until 1900, at which time J. Edward left to join the Schaller Brothers Brewery. Shortly thereafter William would rename the brewery as the William S. Sohn Brewery, however he died in 1902. After William’s death his wife, Lena Jung Sohn ran the brewery until 1907, as she was intimately familiar with the industry by way of her father, another Cincinnati brewer.


Abandoned, the story of a forgotten America, also has a page about the Clyffside Brewing Company




Patent No. 7604147B2: Keg With An Inner Bag

Today in 2009, US Patent 7604147 B2 was issued, an invention of Ian Anderson, assigned to Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A., for his “Keg with an Inner Bag.” Here’s the Abstract:

An interlocking collar (72) secures a bag neck (46) in a keg aperture (42) of an alcohol beverage keg container (22). The interlocking collar is mounted in press fit surrounding relation with a peripheral wall portion of the bag neck. The collar has an outer peripheral wall portion sized larger than that of a keg aperture. The collar (72) has a recessed groove (76) in the collar outer peripheral wall portion for receiving in press fitting and sealing relation a keg flange (40) that defines the keg aperture. The collar outer peripheral wall portion has a resilient edge portion (78) adjacent the recessed groove that deflects to permit the interlocking collar to pass through the keg aperture and receive the keg flange in the recessed groove. The interlocking collar has a plurality of locking passageways (80) placed around the interlocking collar and axially extending through the interlocking collar between the neck and recessed groove. A latch member (82) has a plurality of locking fingers (84) that extend axially through the locking passageways to prevent deflection of the resilient edge portion of the interlocking collar after the collar is placed in the keg aperture.




Patent No. 3613954A: Dispensing Apparatus

Today in 1971, US Patent 3613954 A was issued, an invention of Peter D. Bayne, assigned to Schlitz Brewing Co., for his “Dispensing Apparatus.” Here’s the Abstract:

The invention relates to a dispensing unit for dispensing a beverage containing dissolved carbon dioxide and which utilizes a liquified fluorocarbon gas as a pressurizing medium. The unit includes a closed container containing a beverage having dissolved carbon dioxide. The liquified fluorocarbon gas is contained i a separate reservoir which communicates directly with the headspace of the container above the liquid level. As the beverage is drawn from the container, the volume of the headspace of the container increases, thereby decreasing the pressure in the headspace and resulting in the vaporization of additional quantities of the liquified fluorocarbon gas which act to maintain the desired counterbalancing pressure within the headspace to keep the carbon dioxide in solution in the beverage.


Patent No. 2096088A: Method And Apparatus For Conditioning And Dispensing Beer

Today in 1937, US Patent 2096088 A was issued, an invention of Lioyd G. Copeman, for his “Method and Apparatus For Conditioning and Dispensing Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to a method and apparatus for conditioning and dispensing beer, and has to do particularly with beer conditioning and dispensing apparatus of the portable type.

One of the main objects of the present invention resides in the use of solidified CO2 as a cooling and conditioning medium. A further feature of the invention has to do with the immersion of beer conditioning and dispensing means directly in the beer itself, but in such a manner that the beer is not cooled below normal palatable temperature; in the preferred form the beer is even pre-cooled before being placed in the container whereby the main function of the-immersed means is to condition the beer and to some extent maintain the same in its cooled condition.

Other features have to do with wall structure for separating the solid CO2 from the liquid and having a predetermined insulating effect whereby heat transfer will be so retarded as to keep the beer above its minimum palatable temperature.

Other features include the general structure of the portable container and also details of regulable conducting means for varying temperature of the liquid, as-will be more clearly set forth in the specification and claims.


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.


Patent No. 772888A: Cork Extractor

Today in 1904, US Patent 772888 A was issued, an invention of Joseph Kaiser, for his “Cork Extractor.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to improvements in devices for extracting corks from bottles. Its which object is to provide a simple inexpensive compact means accompanying every bottle for removing the cork entire.

It consists of the parts and the construction and combination of parts hereinafter more fully described, having reference to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure l is a front elevation of metal strip. Fig. 2 is a side elevation of metal strip, showing projections for engaging cork. Fig. 3 is a modification of the device. Fig. 4 is a partial section showing method of extracting cork. Fig. 5 shows the device used as a cork protector and Wired down, as for shipment.

In carrying out my invention I employ two flexible metal strips, each comprising a shank portion A and a head 2. The shank is provided with a series of spurs 3 on one side or other suitable means for engaging the periphery of the cork. These spurs are preferably formed by indenting the opposite sides of the shank with a prick-punch. The head 2 is preferably round and of a size not to exceed the exposed end of the cork and is perforated,


Patent No. 3279493A: Valve Assembly For Kegs

Today in 1966, US Patent 3279493 A was issued, an invention of David Zurit and Michael J. Parisi, assigned to the Tap Rite Products Corp., for their “Valve Assembly For Kegs.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to apparatus for tapping liquid containing vessels, such as beer kegs. The invention will be described as embodied in beer-tapping apparatus, but some features are not so limited within the scope of the appended claims. More particularly, the invention relates to apparatus that fits into the tapping hole of a keg and that has a valve which seals the opening when in one position and which leaves the interior of the keg in communication with a beer line or faucet when in another position.

It is an object of the invention to provide tapping apparatus of the character indicated with an improved vertically extending inlet that can be made long enough for withdrawing the contents of the keg down to the last few ounces of liquid within the keg.

It is a more specific object of the invention to provide a valve of the character indicated with an inlet fitting that turns with the valve and that moves into a position where it is exposed to the free flow of cleaning fluid in the keg when the valve is closed and the keg is in position for Washing.

It is another object of the invention to provide an improved valve construction with a static sealing disk having a novel structure for preventing rotation of the seal and having a shape that forms with the other parts of the apparatus a channel for unobstructed drainage of cleaning fluid from the inlet fitting of the value.


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.