Wednesday’s ad is for Ballantine, from 1957. Showing a dinner party, or really a soup party, paired with buckets of Ballantine Ale. In a rarity for beer advertising, they’re touting the hops used to brew the beer, a British hop known as “Brewer’s Gold.” According to HopUnion’s hop varieties booklet, Brewer’s Gold was developed in Great Britain as primarily a bittering hop by a Professor Salmon in 1934. Ballantine refers to it as a “rare, choice hop.” And hop about this great tagline at the end? “Enjoy the genuine — it’s the trend, friend!”
Ale was rare in 1957 on this side of the pond – I’d guess that Ballantine was the only US maker of it; Molson & Labatt probably were doing it in Canada. Too bad the “trend” didn’t catch on in the USA until the craft brewers hit the scene 25 yrs later; Schlitz’s “kiss of the hops” ads of that era were the epitome of hop de-emphasis.
Jess Kidden says
Ballantine was the largest US brewer of ale at the time (in 1957, they were the 4th largest American brewery) but hardly the only one. Scores of US breweries still brewed an ale, which still accounted for about 5% of all beers in the US – down from 15-20% immediately after Repeal. Pabst (Old Tankard) and Carling (Red Cap) distributed their ales nationally, but many northeast local and regional breweries continued to market ales, along with Rainier Ale – the most notable and long-lived ale on the west coast.
Brewer’s Gold hops were introduced to US in the late -1930’s and were first grown in New York State, where it was hoped that the strain would help reinvigorate that state industry. Ballantine by the ’50’s had established contracts with California, Oregon and Washington hop growers (they claimed to have pioneered hop contracts), though not sure which state(s) supplied the BG’s.