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Fehr’s Beer Bear

My most recent “Beer in Ads” post was for a Bock by the Frank Fehr Brewing Co. of Louisville, Kentucky, which was in business from 1890 to 1964, and even earlier as the Otto Brewery. In researching the brewery, I found some amazing promotional photos for the Frank Fehr Brewing Co. at the University of Louisville Digital Collection. If a brewery tried this today, the prohibitionist groups would go seriously apoplectic. Fehr’s actually used a teddy bear, which they referred to as a “Beer Bear” or Fehr’s Bear” in their marketing.

This M.R. Kopmeyer Co. photo of Fehr’s bottle of beer is from July of 1959.

And here’s another one of a Teddy beer with Fehr’s beer bottles from August of 1959.

“Frank Fehr Brewing Co. Int photos of Jack Schnatter and Fehrs beer at Kroger store at Shelbyville Road Plaza,” taken August 28, 1959.

And here’s a close-up of Jack Schnatter and the teddy bear at the same visit to Krogers.

I can just imagine the hue and cry today if any beer brand tried using a teddy bear as a part of their marketing. You know they’d be accused of “targeting” children, a frequent charge leveled by modern prohibitionists and yet in what I imagine was a conservative southern town in the late fifties people seemed to take it all in stride. What does that say about the people running prohibitionist organizations in the 21st century that they can’t tell the difference between targeting and having fun, between knowing what appeals to all people and not just children.

I confess Fehr’s was not a beer brand I was familiar with. I suspect it was only available, even in its heyday, in and around the Louisville area. So there it’s probably well known. They certainly had some great slogans, the one I see the most is pretty awesome. It’s always Fehr weather.”

I guess we know from that how Frank Fehr’s name was pronounced. They used it it a variety of marketing materials, from coasters …

to crowns …

to trays.

Another play on the name was “Be ‘Fehr’ to Yourself” — Drink — Fehr’s Kentucky Beer.”

It’s certainly popular enough in the Louisville area that some people are trying to bring back the brand, and have a website and Facebook page up, though there was more movement and even some local news coverage two years ago.

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