A number of columns back I described a license plate advertising Genesee beers. The plate said “Don’t worry Dad we’re drinking Genesee!”
A license plate is just small portion of how beer has been advertised through transportation. Getting the beer to market has been a great way to advertise beer. Railroad cars, eighteen wheelers, lift bay trucks, vans and cars have always been great ways to have a functioning rolling billboard. Also various sporting events like car and truck racing, sailing, power boating, and even snowmobiling have also been great modes of product placement on various forms of transportation.
Breweries have also utilized refurbished modes of transportation like beer wagons and trucks from a bye gone era. Anheuser-Busch has spent millions over the last seventy plus years on the Clydesdale eight horse hitch. This icon travels the world promoting their beers. Anheuser-Busch operates five of these teams in order to keep up with all of the appearances. Collectibles that utilize this team of horses are always in demand among the Anheuser-Busch collectors. Hundreds of post cards and scaled replicas and figurines have been issued to promote and salute the Clydesdales. Many other breweries used their beer wagons to advertise their brews. Some of the most famous have been Pabst, Meister Bräu, Genesee, Hacker-Pschorr, and Lowenbrau.
Labatt’s was dealt with a dilemma when Ontario’s Prohibition ended in 1927. Advertising on billboards and other medias was banned. They improvised by having Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky to design a signature yet functioning way to have their products stand out. The bright red Labatt’s Streamliner was introduced with rave reviews. Beer was delivered on these traveling billboards from 1932 – 1955 throughout Ontario. Labatt’s worked with the Count, White Motor Company and the Fruehauf Trailer Company to produce this unique mode of distribution. In the mid 1980’s a Streamliner was completely refurbished and today this vehicle is as recognized as the Clydesdale Hitch is to Anheuser Busch. Collectors are constantly in search for the 1/43 die cast model of the Streamliner.
Actually a growing segment of the hobby is collecting of various die cast replicas of breweries trucks, railroad cars and wagon hitches. Maybe some collectors have entered their second childhood but in some cases you need an adult’s wages in order to afford these collectibles. Ironically because these items advertise an alcoholic beverage they have to be labeled as “Adult Toys”. These replicas especially the matchbox type, tractor trailers and railroad cars even have their own clubs and conventions. European collectors have especially taken to this segment of the hobby.
Other great forms of transportation related collectibles include: Wheel or tire covers, trailer hitch protectors, antenna markers, window mounted flags, and all of those great tail gating accessories. Some collectors have acquired door magnets and even the unused decals used to decorate trucks and other vehicles. Another sought after segment is photos of beer trucks and wagons. Breweries were very proud of their fleets and loved to show them off through post cards and promotional photo shoots.
Beer Dave Gausehopl has collected breweriana since 1974 and has a personal collection of over 400,000 items. He has visited over 1,500 breweries and currently is the National President of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America.