Monday’s ad is for Michelob, one of the brands created by Anheuser-Busch as a draft-only beer in 1896. It was first packaged in 1961, and its distinctive teardrop bottle won a design award the following year. But that was replaced in 1967 “for efficiency in the production line,” but reverted to a traditional bottle in 2002. This ad is from 1970, and features a bottle of Michelob dressed as a ghost for Halloween. The punchline, or at least the answer to the tagline, is “all the other spirits would be out of business.” Funny. Not true, but funny.
Friday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1954. Starting in the early 1950s, Pabst started a new ad campaign with the tagline “What’ll You Have” which lasted for a few years. They were colorful ads, and often had the tagline spelled out in creative ways. In this ad, “What’ll You Have” is written on three Christmas balls hanging on a tree behind a table. On the table is a tasty-looking ham along with the usual silver tray with two bottles of Pabst and mugs on it.
Thursday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1951. Starting in the early 1950s, Pabst started a new ad campaign with the tagline “What’ll You Have” which lasted for a few years. They were colorful ads, and often had the tagline spelled out in creative ways. In this ad, “What’ll You Have” is written on cards being held by caroling dolls which are part of a Christmas display. Behind them is a silver artificial Xmas tree, which is similar to the one my Aunt Helen always used to put up only because she thought it was expected of her (she was the most unsentimental person I ever knew). There’s also a tray ringed with snacks and two bottles and pilsner glasses of beer.
Wednesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1952. Starting in the early 1950s, Pabst started a new ad campaign with the tagline “What’ll You Have” which lasted for a few years. They were colorful ads, and often had the tagline spelled out in creative ways. In this ad, “What’ll You Have” is written in red, white and blue and uses the tagline. “For A Red, White and Blue Ribbon 4th What’ll You Have,” and shows four different meals you can pair with beer for your Independence Day celebrations.
Over in Gobbler’s Knob, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil the Groundhog — a.k.a. the Brewhog — raised up his head this morning and looked around, and this year and saw his shadow. You know what that means? It’s six more weeks of drinking winter beers this year. Or something about a late spring, I can’t keep it straight. You can see a video of Punxsutawney Phil here. And there’s more information about Groundhog Day at the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
But this year, I suppose given how the year is going, it isn’t too surprising, not every groundhog agrees on what the future hold. For example, both Staten Island Chuck along with Shubenacadie Sam in Canada have predicted an early spring. But General Beau Lee in Georgia agrees with Punxsutawney Phil that we’re in for more cold weather.
Although another Canadian groundhog, Balzac Billy, from Alberta, Canada, also predicted an early spring and so did Essex Ed of Orange, New Jersey. Ed also predicted the Patriots would beat the Eagles on Sunday so I’m not sure how reliable he is. But so did Big Al, a 14-foot, 1,000-pound alligator, from Texas, who is given KFC chicken each February 2. If he eats the chicken, it’s an early spring, if he passes, then it’s more winter. This year, he ate.
Then again, Buckeye Chuck of Ohio was saying we’re in for more winter
So it’s up in the air whether, I mean weather, we’ll have an early spring or more winter. I tend to go with the original, Punxsutawney Phil, but for no better reason then I’m from Pennsylvania. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
In Alaska, they celebrate Marmot Day.
Fingers crossed. And if you don’t have time to watch all of the deliciously wonderful Groundhog Day film today, here it is in a slightly shorter version just over three minutes.
Monday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1959. While the best known Guinness ads were undoubtedly the ones created by John Gilroy, Guinness had other creative ads throughout the same period and afterward, too, which are often overlooked. This ad, which is the cover of the “Guinness Harp” from the issue for Christmas 1959. “The Guinness Harp” was the “Journal of the Home of Guinness, St. James’s Gate, Dublin.” On the cover, Santa is leaving the brewery will a full sack and four bottles tucked into his pockets. No idea what’s in the sack, but it would be interesting to find out.
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
— Calvin Coolidge
‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale; ’twas Christmas told the merriest tale; a Christmas gambol oft could cheer the poor man’s heart through half the year.
— Sir Walter Scott
The original image, which I doctored, was the cover of a 1950 issue of Guinness Time, “a quarterly publication by the Guinness company [that] was distributed to all Guinness staff.” I found it at Bygone Bodiam, a very cool website covering old time Bodiam, a hop growing area in England. There are also a number of great nostalgic photographs of the local hops industry back in the day.
Sunday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1934. While the best known Guinness ads were undoubtedly the ones created by John Gilroy, Guinness had other creative ads throughout the same period and afterward, too, which are often overlooked. This ad, with the tagline “Christmas Is Coming … Guinness For Strength” shows Santa carrying a large tree as if weighs nothing after having had a bottle of Guinness. Merry Christmas.
While not widely known, St. Nicholas, among his many patronages includes brewers. He is a patron saint of brewers. The way we think of St. Nick in America begins with the publication of Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit From St, Nicholas by Clement C. Moore in 1823. So with my tongue firmly set in my cheek, I decided to rewrite Moore’s masterpiece, moving his visit from the home to the brewery. Hoppy Christmas. Enjoy. For more detail on how this came about, and about the original poem, see below.
Twas the Beer Before Christmas:
A Brewery Visit From St. Nicholas
‘Twas the beer before Christmas, when down in the brewery
Not a bottle was stirring, not a mouse dared to scurry;
The hoses were hung by the kettle with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would drink there;
The bottles, like children, nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of candi sugar fermented their heads;
The brewers, in hoodies, gave just the impression,
They’d all settled down for a long winter’s session,
When outside by the tanks there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the brewery to see what was the matter.
Away to the rollup I flew like a flash,
Tore open the lock, the door flew up with a crash.
The moon on the breast of the newly-paved tarmack
Gave the lustre of stout looking velvety black,
When, what to my sobering eyes should appear,
But a miniature delivery wagon, and eight kegs of beer,
With a little old brewmaster, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than fermenting his brewers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now, Busch! Now, Rheingold!, now, Pabst and Carling!
On, Schlitz! on, Schmidt! on, Miller and Yuengling!
To the top of the jockey box! To the top of the cask!
Now drink away! drink away! drink away the whole flask!”
As dry hopping that before the wild bittering fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, toast a drink to the sky;
So up to the brewery-top the brewers they flew,
With the wagon full of Beers, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, glasses tinkling, I heard on the roof
The toasting and drinking of each little goof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out the fermenter St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in red, from his toes to his top,
And his coveralls were soiled with spent grain and hops;
A carton of Beers he had flung on his back,
And his rubber boots squeaked as he opened his pack.
His besotted eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were all rosy, like New Glarus cherry!
His droll little mouth was beseeching our pardon,
And the beard of his chin was as white as Hoegaarden;
The end of a zwickel he held tight in one hand,
While the other held Watermelon Wheat that was canned;
He had a beer belly, that bent two stumpy legs,
That shook when he laughed, like a half-emptied keg.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old brewer,
And I drank when I saw him, for what could be truer;
A wink of his eye as he poured generous heads,
Soon gave me to know he would join us instead;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And emptied the bottles; then sat with a smirk,
And raising his glass, he gave the first toast,
Then each brewer, in turn, drank to his own riposte;
Then he sprang to his wagon, to his brewers gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a hop torpedo missile.
But I heard his last toast, ere he drove out of here,
“Hoppy Christmas to all, and to all drink good beer.”
In late 2009 — a Saturday night — I read Porter and Alice, my two kids, Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit From St, Nicholas by Clement C. Moore. Whenever I read something I know to my children (which happens a lot, kids love repetition) the writer in me edits as I go. I change words as if it was my work, I flatter myself I’m improving it or correcting mistakes. A scatterbrained scheme was hatched as I again read them what’s probably the most famous Christmas poem.
First published in 1823, according to Wikipedia, “it is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the Anglosphere and the world.”
As I’ve written about before, St. Nick is also a Patron Saint of Brewers. So with my tongue firmly set in my cheek, I decided to rewrite Moore’s masterpiece, moving his visit from the home to the brewery.
As it happens, there are a lot of different versions of the poem, with incremental changes having been made over the years. I used, for no particular reason, an edition from Trans-Pacific Radio. Enjoy. Hoppy Christmas. You can also compare the two versions side by side, which also includes the brewers names I’ve used in previous years. The plan is to change those each year.
Feel free to share my version of the poem, with credit if you please, plus a link back here is always appreciated.
UPDATE: Georgia’s Sweetwater Brewing also did their own beer-themed version called Sweetwater’s Night Before Christmas. There’s also another beer-themed one I shared last year, Twas the Brewer’s Night Before Christmas. For many more parodies, check out the Canonical List of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Variations, which contains 849 different variations on the poem.
Saturday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1960. While the best known Guinness ads were undoubtedly the ones created by John Gilroy, Guinness had other creative ads throughout the same period and afterward, too, which are often overlooked. This ad, one of many that used Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and is a parody of the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” which was originally in Through the Looking-Glass. In this parody, the Guinness-themed poem begins “If seven men give seven wives,” and is about seven Santas giving Guinness as Christmas presents to their wives, and having one themselves, too. It’s actually the cover of the December 1960 issue of “Guinness Time,” the employee magazine for Guinness.