Monday’s ad is for Miller High Life, from 1913, published in the Telegraph Herald on July 2, 1913. In this curious ad, titled “The Result of Good Brewing—,” the scene is a parade of Germany soldiers. Though it’s hard to read, toward the bottom it reads “High Life in Germany,” while to the left the Miller Girl has been inserted into the illustration as if she’s watching the parade.
But even more curious about this ad is the inset box, “The Brown Bottle Joke,” where they try to explain why using a clear bottle is actually better than using brown, and they do so without even mentioning why brown is preferred or indeed anything about what effect light would have on the beer after bottling.
The brown bottle fallacy has been so completely exploded that little is left to be said in defense of that side of the question which advocated the use of dark bottles to the absolute exclusion of light bottles. It is admitted that common beer comes in dark bottles and that beer of a high degree of stability is preferably bottled in light bottles.
Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentology (America’s greatest authorities on brewing) are in accord with this view. Here is their statement in relation to the bottling of high-grade beer:
“FOR SUCH BEERS THE LIGHT BOTTLE is PREFERABLY EMPLOYED because it can more readily be inspected before filling to insure thorough cleanliness and because the finished package reveals at a glance whether the contents meet the requirements of the consumer as to color, clarity and freedom from sedimentation.”
Miles Jordan says
Kendall Staggs says
Great post, Jay, as always.
At that time Schlitz was running a series of ads that were extremely critical of other brewers for not using brown bottles and even explaining the effects of light on bottled beer. The rest of the American brewing community was highly critical of these ads, and the editors of Western Brewer and other trade journals criticized Schlitz for making American beer look bad at a time when it was already under attack from prohibitionists. Miller, with its commitment to clear bottles, was one of the few breweries to take on the issue directly in its ads.
But as all of us beer geex (especially those of us who’ve homebrewed) have learned, clear bottles SUCK! Miller defied science for years & got away with it. Quaint 100 yrs ago – at least their ad & label had the grammar correct on “the champagne of bottled beer” (later versions dropped the “d”, as Jay’s posts of 50’s Miller ads have shown).