Beer In Ads #2306: Frankie Frisch Graduates To Carling


Tuesday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features “American baseball player and manager” Frankie Frisch wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. He was “nicknamed The Fordham Flash or The Old Flash, was a German-American Major League Baseball player and manager of the first half of the twentieth century. Frisch was a switch-hitting second baseman who threw right-handed. He played for the New York Giants (1919–1926) and St. Louis Cardinals (1927–1937). He managed the Cardinals (1933–1938), Pittsburgh Pirates (1940–1946) and Chicago Cubs (1949–1951). He is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum.

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Beer In Ads #2304: Clem McCarthy Graduates To Carling


Sunday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1950. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features “American sportscaster and public address announcer” Clem McCarthy wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. “He also lent his voice to Pathe News’s RKO newsreels. He was known for his gravelly voice and dramatic style, a “whiskey tenor” as sports announcer and executive David J. Halberstam has called it.”

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Beer In Ads #2297: Jack Kramer, I’ve Found Out


Sunday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1950. In this ad, part of a series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “I’ve found out,” it features “American tennis player” Jack Kramer holding a beer and giving his testimonial about why he loves Red Cap Ale. “A World No. 1 player for a number of years, and one of the most important people in the establishment of modern men’s “Open”-era tennis, he was the leading promoter of professional tennis tours in the 1950s and 1960s.”

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In some of the ads, the inset box is not blank, but included another person, presumably a regular non-famous person and probably localized for where the ad ran, if not in a national publication.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan

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Today is the birthday of Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan (May 1, 1915-October 25, 2004), one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in his honor. I met Mac twice, once in Portland at an event at the brewery, and once he visited me in California when I was still the beer buyer at BevMo. I hope I have half the energy he did when I’m in my eighties. A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague John Foyston wrote a nice remembrance of Mac in The Oregonian, which included the obituary he wrote in 2004. Raise a glass today to Mac’s memory.

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Brewer Alan Kornhauser, Mac and Portland Brewing co-founder Fred Bowman.

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Mac’s Oregon Sports Hall of Fame photo. Here’s his entry:

Oregon’s most accomplished Masters Athlete, Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan is the first masters competitor ever chosen for induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. His athletic feats are amazing. Mac is a four-time Masters world record holder with a national record in the mile plus three world record holders in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the steeplechase, he is a six-time AAU National Masters champion, two-time USA National Senior Olympic champion, two-time World Senior champion. Mac is also a five-time National Masters wrestling champion. The wiry Scot owns more the 50 Masters Gold Medals.

Sign Up Today For The Brookston Hitting Derby

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I confess I completely forgot about the baseball season starting tomorrow. I’d set up the annual Brookston Hitting Derby, but promptly forgot about it again. We used to call it a Home Run Derby because to keep things simpler, we only counted those, but more recently I monkeyed with the scoring (because I generally can’t keep well enough alone) so while it’s still simpler than being in a full-blown fantasy baseball league, there are now more ways to get points. Still, we do it just for fun, and there are twenty spaces available if you want to play along, although we only need four to draft (two more now). But hurry up, the league will draft late tonight since the season starts tomorrow, so sign up today if you want to join.

In order to join the league, follow this link, and I think that’s all you have to do, other then follow the on-screen instructions. If that’s not right, or you’re having trouble, leave a comment below and a way to reach you. Otherwise, see you on the diamond.

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Beer In Ads #2210: Right Down Their Alley … A Mellow Glass Of Beer Or Ale!


Thursday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1941. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, some affluent young men and women are enjoying an evening of bowling, a popular pastime in the 1950s. And apparently, “beer and bowling” is as perfect a pairing as “ham and eggs,” “hot dogs and mustard,” or “Thanksgiving and mince pie.” Personally, I don’t think mince pie goes with anything. But I do agree that “Beer belongs so definitely with your hours of relaxation.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick C. Miller

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Today is the birthday of Frederick C. Miller (February 26, 1906–December 17, 1954). Fred was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “the son of Carl A. Miller of Germany, and Clara Miller (no relation), a daughter of Miller Brewing Company founder Frederick Miller.

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Succeeding his younger cousin Harry John (1919–1992), Miller became the president of the family brewing company in 1947 at age 41 and had a major role in bringing Major League Baseball to Wisconsin, moving the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953. He coaxed Lou Perini into moving them into the new County Stadium and the Braves later played in consecutive World Series in 1957 and 1958, both against the New York Yankees. Both series went the full seven games with Milwaukee winning the former and New York the latter.

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Fred Miller was also notably a college football player, an All-American tackle under head coach Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame, posthumously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985. He later served as an unpaid assistant coach for the Irish, flying in from Milwaukee several times a week.

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He also “volunteered as a coach for the Green Bay Packers and, during a difficult financial period, even helped fund the team. Miller Brewing remains the largest stockholder of the Green Bay Packers,” which probably explains why they played half of their home games in Milwaukee before Lambeau Field was refurbished.

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Here’s his biography from the College Football Hall of Fame:

A native of Milwaukee, Fred Miller was the grandson of the founder of the Miller Brewing Company. The qualities which later made Fred a great business executive were already evident when he entered Notre Dame in 1925, and they were quickly recognized by the immortal Knute Rockne. It was under Rockne’s tutelage that the 6-1, 195-pounder came to his gridiron peak, earning All-America mention in 1927, and again in 1928, and achieving the ultimate Notre Dame football honor by being named captain of the 1928 team. His quest for perfection was not limited to the gridiron. During his years at Notre Dame he coupled athletic prowess with academic proficiency and established the highest scholastic average of any monogram winner. Miller was involved in real estate, lumber, and investments before becoming president of the Miller Brewing Company. In 1954, he and his son, Fred Jr., were killed in an airplane crash. Miller was 48 years old. He was survived by his wife, six daughters and a son.

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Miller at Milwaukee’s County stadium, where he helped moved the Boston Braves to in 1953, along with paying $75,000 for the County Stadium scoreboard in the background.

But beyond his sports accomplishments, he was an effective leader of his family’s brewery, as detailed by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in Remembering Frederick C. Miller, Milwaukee brewing’s 1st rock star:

Frederick C. Miller was the first brewery rock star.

Industry types praised Miller in the 1940s and early ’50s in the same way they gush over leading craft brewers today.

Frederick J. Miller was the builder of the brewery that is marking its 160th anniversary this year. Frederick’s son, Ernest, who took over after his father’s death, was a caretaker for the brewery keeping the status quo.

But Frederick C. Miller, part of the focus of a monthlong celebration of the company’s history that wrapped up last weekend, was the innovator who sparked new relationships, new buildings, put new ideas in motion and marched the family brewery past regional dominance to become the nation’s fifth-ranked brewery.

When you sip a beer at Miller Park or Lambeau Field it’s because of Fred C. He identified the relationship between beer and sports, and ran with it like the all-American football player he was.

“Fred was iconic,” said David S. Ryder, MillerCoors vice president for brewing, research, innovation and quality. “He was named as president of Miller Brewing in 1947, and from the day that he was named president, Miller Brewing started to grow.”

Frederick C. died when his plane crashed on takeoff at what is now Mitchell International Airport on Dec. 17, 1954. He was 48. His son Fred Jr., 20, and two pilots on the Miller Brewing payroll were killed on impact in the crash; Frederick C. was thrown clear of the crash but died hours later in the hospital.

A crowd of 3,000 mourners attended the funeral services, and the overflow was described by The Milwaukee Journal as “everyday folks — men in overalls and other rough work clothes, mothers carrying babies, young people and old.”

During Frederick C.’s time, Miller’s brewery expanded and sales grew from 653,000 barrels in 1947 to more than 3 million in 1952. He added buildings, including a new brewhouse and a new office building. He turned the former ice caves into The Caves Museum, a place where brewers could assemble for lunch or special occasions.

Liberace, a West Allis native, cut the ribbon for The Caves in 1953, according to John Gurda’s book “Miller Time: A History of Miller Brewing Company.”

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Here’s a newspaper account of the tragic death of Fred and his son in 1954.

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And lastly, here’s some interesting speculation from my friend, historian Maureen Ogle, that Miller Brewing might have done considerably better against their rival, Anheuser-Busch, if Fred Miller had not died prematurely in that place crash when he was only 48 years old.

It’s rare that the presence or absence of one person makes a historical difference (I said “rare,” not impossible). But I think that the death of Fred C. Miller in 1954 altered the course of American brewing. Miller was aggressive, ambitious, smart — all on a grand scale. He was the first beermaker to come along in decades who showed the potential to go head-to-head with the Busch family, particularly Gus Busch, who ran A-B from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s.

Miller became company president in 1947, and over the next few years, he shoved, pushed, prodded, and otherwise steered his family’s brewing company not-much-of-anything into the ranks of the top ten. But in late 1954, he died (in a plane crash) — and Miller Brewing lost its way.

As Miller faltered, A-B solidified its position as the dominant player in American brewing. Had Fred Miller not died, I believe the course of American brewing would have turned out differently: Fred Miller would have transformed his family’s company into a formidable powerhouse. He would have challenged A-B’s dominance. He would have been able to command-and-direct in a way that, for example, Bob Uihlein was not able to do at Schlitz during the same period.

Put another way, in the 1950s, Gus Busch met his match in Fred C. Miller. Things might have turned out differently had Miller lived

I can’t prove that, of course, but hey — what’s all that research good for if I can’t express an informed opinion.

And lastly, the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame created a short video of Miller’s life that’s a nice over view of him.

Beer In Ads #2196: Heineken Refreshes Joe Jordan


Thursday’s ad is for Heineken, from the 1970s. In the later 1970s, Heineken embarked on a series of ads with the tagline “Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach.” Many of the ads were in a sequential panel, or comic strip, format and they were intended to be humorous.

In this ad, a four-panel box format, featuring illustrations of Scottish football player, coach and manager Joe Jordan. “A former striker, he played for Leeds United, Manchester United, and Milan, among others at club level, as well making 52 appearances and scoring 11 goals for Scotland. As a player he gained a fearsome ‘Jaws’ persona due to having lost two front teeth early in his career.” And that’s the angle played in the ad, where in the first panel he’s holding a mug of Heineken, smiling broadly through two missing front teeth. In the second he’s downing the beer, while by the third panel his missing teeth are back, plus his teeth are gleaming white now. So that’s a pretty impressive beer.

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Beer In Ads #2186: Heineken Refreshes Cricket


Monday’s ad is for Heineken, from 1979. In the later 1970s, Heineken embarked on a series of ads with the tagline “Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach.” Many of the ads were in a sequential panel, or comic strip, format and they were intended to be humorous.

In this ad, a three-panel format, it features the international sport of cricket. In the first panel, a thick-bearded batsman is standing next to the wicket, bat in one hand and a beer in the other. In the second panel, he’s throwing back the mug of beer and drinking it down, and you can already see his bat is starting to grow. Thanks to the beer, his paddle has grown to the size of a pizza peel. Let’s see the bowler bowl one past him now.

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Beer In Ads #2172: Larry Hughes For Pabst


Monday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1950. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Larry Hughes. He was the national champion in archery for 1941, using newly developed aluminum arrows. Unlike almost every other Pabst celebrity in this series, there’s very little information about Hughes out there apart from a few simple mentions of him on archery websites. For example, on the efforts of Doug Easton to pioneer aluminum arrows, Abbey Archery has this to say:

1939 saw Doug move to yet another larger facility in Los Angeles. It was at this new facility that Doug began his search for an alternative to the wooden arrow. One of the first set of metal arrows made by Doug during the first year in this new building was given to local champion archer Larry Hughes. Larry shot these arrows very successfully in tournaments until 1941, when Larry won the National Championship with these new metal arrows. However, World War II was now in full force, and aluminum was no longer available for anything that was not war related. This effectively ended Doug’s efforts to perfect the new arrow until the end of the war.

In the ad, Hughes appears to be at an archery range, perched on a ledge, with a beer in his hand. Next to him, from a chair, his drinking buddy is apparently shooting from the clubhouse lounge. But on closer inspection, he’s just holding the arrow in his hand and sighting it, with no bow. I guess somebody’s had a few too many beers, and they took away his bow.

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