A specialty that has always intrigued me in the array of beer collectables is beer advertising. Last year at the Beer Can Collectors of America’s National CANvention in Lexington, KY, I bought raffle tickets for a chance to win an Iron City tent. This was a bona fide two-person tent. A fellow collector asked me what I wanted with it. For me the response was simple: I don’t have a beer advertising tent in my collection.
Some beer advertisement collectors specialize in a particular brand or item. I continue to add to my collection by finding the unusual and obscure items that have been used to advertise beer. A few years back, I was delighted to add a Rolling Rock Toboggan to my collection. I have kazoos, yo-yos, Christmas tree ornaments, cue sticks, and Frisbees. For duffers, I have golf balls, tees, ball markers, putters and divot tools that advertise beer.
You will surely be amazed as I take you through the many items and trinkets that have helped persuade us to drink a particular brand of beer.
Brewers have helped us over the years to look our best. I’m not talking about those beer goggles either. In my collection I have many combs featuring beer advertising. Other grooming items used to advertise beer include nail clippers, emery boards, toothpicks and vanity mirrors. I also have a Guinness hair brush along with beer advertising sewing kits, a lint brush, and even a tooth brush and toothpaste advertising Kirin Beer from Japan.
As far as I know, the toothpaste is not beer flavored but some strange items have been produced with beer or beer by-products as an ingredient. Years ago, there was a shampoo marketed under the name Body on Tap that contained brewers yeast. The rich amount of B vitamins in the yeast was purported to add body and shine to your hair. Today there is a shampoo marketed in a plastic bottle resembling a beer bottle. This line of shampoos and conditioners, named Back to Basics, uses the proteins and enzymes from malted barley and brewers yeast.
Brewers yeast is used in many pet foods because of the healthy look it gives a dog’s or cat’s coat. I have a box of dog biscuits under the name, Beer Bones, “The Treat for the Party Animal.” Temporary tattoos and condoms have also advertised beer to a different type of party animal.
Other strange marketing tools include a plastic device that attaches to the top of your beer can, converting it into an ashtray. I also have a clip-on device that keeps bees and other bugs out of your beer can.
Many items found in your office advertise beer. I have pen and pencil sets, rulers, money clips, yard sticks, calculators, magnets, letter openers, mouse pads, and even screen savers for the PC. Now many breweries and importers provide their wholesalers with a CD-ROM with their brands’ logos and advertising graphics.
Some great little helpers around the house include a grill scraper, fly swatters, and numerous kitchen gadgets like coffee mugs, serving trays, ice buckets, spoons and forks, pot holders and even a Carling’s Black Label fondue pot. Pocket knives, watches, clocks and shopping bags have all been used to advertise beer.
A sales person who earns a living peddling trinkets, premiums and giveaways can surely make a good living selling their wares to the breweries around the world.
By the way, I did not win that Iron City beer tent, so I’m still in search of one for the collection.
“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.