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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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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Beer In Ads #2171: Ben Hogan For Pabst


Sunday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1951. 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 Ben Hogan. He “was an American professional golfer, generally considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Born within six months of two other acknowledged golf greats of the 20th century, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson, Hogan is notable for his profound influence on golf swing theory and his legendary ball-striking ability.

His nine career professional major championships tie him with Gary Player for fourth all-time, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (18), Tiger Woods (14) and Walter Hagen (11). He is one of only five golfers to have won all four major championships currently open to professionals (the Masters Tournament, The Open (despite only playing once), the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship). The other four are Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Gene Sarazen.”

In the ad, Hogan is in the clubhouse, presumably after playing a round of golf, because he was good, but I’m guessing he still wouldn’t be as good after a few glasses of beer. Although personally, my golf game improves when I’m lubricated.

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Beer In Ads #2170: Johnny Weissmuller For Pabst


Saturday’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 Johnny Weissmuller. He “was a Hungarian-born American competition swimmer and actor, best known for playing Tarzan in films of the 1930s and 1940s and for having one of the best competitive swimming records of the 20th century. Weissmuller was one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 1920s, winning five Olympic gold medals for swimming and one bronze medal for water polo. He won fifty-two U.S. national championships, set more than fifty world records (spread over both freestyle and backstroke), and was purportedly undefeated in official competition for the entirety of his competitive career. After retiring from competitions, he became the sixth actor to portray Edgar Rice Burroughs’s ape man, Tarzan, a role he played in twelve motion pictures. Dozens of other actors have also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller is by far the best known. His character’s distinctive Tarzan yell is still often used in films.”

In the ad, Weissmuller is lounging at a pool. He obviously hasn’t been in the water, because his hair is perfect and his towel is dry. And I guess he should wait at least thirty minutes now that he’s drinking a beer.

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Beer In Ads #2169: Pancho Gonzalez For Pabst


Thursday’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 Pancho Gonzalez. He “was an American tennis player. He was the World No. 1 tennis player for an all-time record eight years from 1952 to 1960. He won 17 Major singles titles, including 15 Pro Slams and 2 Grand Slams.

Largely self-taught, Gonzales was a successful amateur player in the late 1940s, twice winning the United States Championships. He is still widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. A 1999 Sports Illustrated article about the magazine’s 20 “favorite athletes” of the 20th century said about Gonzales (their number 15 pick): “If earth was on the line in a tennis match, the man you want serving to save humankind would be Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez.” The American tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in an August 2006 article for MSNBC.com: “If I had to choose someone to play for my life, it would be Pancho Gonzales.”

In the ad, Gonzalez has (probably) just come off the court, and is relaxing with a friend, sharing two bottles of beer. It’s one of the only one of this series of ads in which the beer appears to have already been consumed. Usually, the glass is full. Here it’s half empty, or is that half full?

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Beer In Ads #2168: Larry Doby For Pabst


Thursday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1949. 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 Mr. and Mrs. Larry Doby. He “was an American professional baseball player in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) who was the second black player to break baseball’s color barrier. A native of Camden, South Carolina and three-sport all-state athlete while in high school in Paterson, New Jersey, Doby accepted a basketball scholarship from Long Island University. At 17 years of age, he began his professional baseball career with the Newark Eagles as the team’s second baseman. Doby joined the United States Navy during World War II. His military service complete, Doby returned to baseball in 1946, and along with teammate Monte Irvin, helped the Eagles win the Negro League World Series.”

In July 1947, three months after Jackie Robinson, Doby broke the MLB color barrier in the American League when he signed a contract to play with Bill Veeck’s Cleveland Indians. Doby was the first player to go directly to the majors from the Negro leagues. A seven-time All-Star center fielder, Doby and teammate Satchel Paige were the first African-American players to win a World Series championship when the Indians won in 1948. He helped the Indians win a franchise-record 111 games and the AL pennant in 1954, finished second in the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award voting and was the AL’s RBI leader and home run champion. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Chunichi Dragons before his retirement as a player in 1962.

Doby later served as the second black manager in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, and in 1995 was appointed to a position in the AL’s executive office. He also served as a director with the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 by the Hall’s Veterans Committee and died in 2003 at the age of 79.

In the ad, Doby is in his home, sharing a beer with, presumably, a friend, while holding a baseball trophy in his hands. I feel like at some point he’s going to have to put that down, or he won’t be able to drink an of his beer.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick C. Miller

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Today is the birthday of Frederick C. Miller (January 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 #2160: Tommy Henrich For Pabst


Wednesday’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 Tommy Henrich. He “was an American professional baseball player, nicknamed ‘The Clutch’ and ‘Old Reliable.’ He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a right fielder and first baseman for the New York Yankees (1937–1942 and 1946–1950). Henrich led the American League in triples twice and in runs scored once, also hitting 20 or more home runs four times. He is best remembered for his numerous exploits in the World Series; he was involved in one of the most memorable plays in Series history in 1941, was the hitting star of the 1947 Series with a .323 batting average, and hit the first walk-off home run in Series history in the first game of the 1949 World Series.”

In the ad, Henrich is showing off his “World-Series home run baseball” in what looks to be his study. I think they’re referring to the 1949 World Series, the year before, when “he gave New York a 1-0 victory in Game 1 when he homered against Don Newcombe on a 2-0 pitch to lead off the ninth inning, the first walk-off home run ever in the World Series.” Shortly before the ad ran, on January 19, 1950, he was awarded “Athlete of the Year,” although I don’t really know who gave him the accolade.

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