Many breweriana collectors deal with their lack of display space by specializing in a particular theme. A great specialization that is growing in popularity is the animals used in beer advertising. Within the animal theme, further specialization is possible; for example, a collector of bock beer items may pursue only advertising featuring a goat.
Any number of breweries from the areas of the Triple Crown race tracks have produced some beautiful tie-ins with beer and horse racing. Upstate New York, Maryland and, of course, Kentucky breweries have all issued true works of art featuring the “Sport of Kings.” Many breweries the world over have also used horse-drawn wagons to promote their brews.
August Schell is known for the use of deer in advertising. Yuengling, Wiedemann and Anheuser-Busch are known for their eagles. Lowenbräu, which translates as “lion’s brew,” makes great use of the king of the jungle. Many early American brewers were known as the Lion or Eagle Brewery, named after animals that symbolize strength and patriotism.
Dogs also have been used to advertise man’s other best friend. The dachshunds that advertised the Frankenmuth brand have been brought back by a brewpub that opened this year in Frankenmuth, MI. The wiener or “frank” dog is just a natural selection. The original brand was even advertised as “Dog Gone Good!” beer. After Prohibition, the original brewery operated a kennel to breed and care for this variety of dog. They had an eight-dog team that pulled a wagon loaded with one keg or case of Frankenmuth beer.
Spanish Peaks pictures “Chug,” a black Labrador retriever, on the label of Black Dog Ale. Pete Slosberg’s dog, Millie, was the first endorser of Pete’s Wicked Ale. Avery Brewing Co.’s Ellie’s Brown Ale is a great brew featuring Adam Avery’s chocolate Lab on each label. Smuttynose Brewing in Portsmouth, NH, features Peter Egelston’s dog, Olive, on its Old Brown Dog Ale. Yuengling has a great poster showing smoking dogs playing cards. The most popular beer at the three Thirty Dog Brewpubs in Ohio is Old Leghumper Porter.
Many breweries have used a moose in their advertising: Duluth Brewing & Malting Co.; Moosehead from New Brunswick, Canada; and Big Sky in Montana, which makes Moose Drool, Slow Elk and ScapeGoat beers. Otto Brothers used to make Moose Juice Stout. Then there was the Smiling Moose Brewpub in Colorado and the Moose Tooth Brewpub in Alaska.
The Carlsberg Brewery of Denmark has made great use of elephants to identify its beer. Two massive mastodons greet you at the entrance gate to the Copenhagen brewery. Tusker Beer of Kenya also uses an elephant to market its brew. Fish, buffalo, rams, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, water-fowl, poultry, cows, pigs, raccoons, and even whales have all been used to lure us in to drink like a—well, you know, to consume a particular brand.
Geary’s from Maine uses a lobster, asking you to “crack one open.” Another great animal is the half bear-half deer used to promote the brews from Anderson Valley Brewing Co. A bear with antlers must be a “beer”?
Easily the most famous animal icon in beer promotions has to be the Hamms Bear. Theodore Bear first appeared 50 years ago. This black and white cartoon character has danced to the “From the Land of Sky Blue Waters” tom-tom jingle since 1953. The advertising agency, Campbell-Mithun’s creation helped the Hamms brand of Saint Paul, MN, grow from a few hundred thousand barrels to over 4 million barrels per year in output. In Beerdom, the Hamms Bear has become as famous as other product symbols, Tony the Tiger, Charlie Tuna, and the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Beer Dave Gausepohl has collected breweriana since 1974 and has a personal collection of over 400,000 items. He has visited over 1,000 breweries and tasted well over 10,000 different brews from the world over.