In Chicago, Meister Brau’s ad campaign used a spunky little guy wearing lederhosen and a hard hat. Brauzer, as he was known, gave this brand the tough guy image that the brewery wanted. The slogan stated that Meister Brau “gives you more of what you drink beer for.” (Ironically, Meister Brau was the brewery that first brewed light beer.)
Another classic slogan along these lines was for Schaefer beer of New York, “the one beer to have when you’re having more than one.”
The Peter Ballantine Brewery of Newark did not want you to run out of brew. One of their ad campaigns invited you to “Tote’m home plenty.” The ad’s use of totem poles and cartoon beer glasses played up the idea of buying lots of beer at one time.
The Genesee Brewery of Rochester actually issued a license plate that read, “Don’t worry, Dad, we’re drinking Genesee.”
Obviously, in today’s P.C. climate, these campaigns would not pass muster.
The Drewrys Brewery of South Bend, IN, promoted its Canadian heritage with the use of a Mountie on its label. This brand had a very strong presence in Indiana, Michigan and Chicago, though the slogan, “Less Filling, More Satisfying” sure sounds like the tagline used by that low-calorie beer from Milwaukee. Just after WWII, Drewrys issued cans that told about your zodiac sign. Another series from Drewrys featured sports scenes like bowling, fishing, hunting, golf and baseball. Bowling and other sporting events, along with TV, had big roles in promoting beer to dad.
Many brand extensions that came about in this era had a resurgence in the late 1980s and early 1990s when they were marketed as “Draft” or “Genuine Draft” and “Dry” or “Extra Dry.” Our fathers were drinking beers brewed and marketed this way back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Falstaff Brewing Corp., based in St. Louis, MO, reached national distribution without ever building a brewery. The company purchased many regional breweries across the country. Shortly after the acquisition, it began to brew and market Falstaff in the new territory. This company began as the Lemp Brewery in Saint Louis, where it also had ties to the Griesedieck Brewery, affectionately known as “Slippery Richard.” Falstaff brewed a packaged “draft beer” and was an early player in the “low calorie” market.
Blatz from Milwaukee was also very successful with a “Draft Brewed” formula. Draft brewed basically meant that the same beer used for kegs was used for the bottles and cans except that it was heat pasteurized. Blatz advertising used a group of three guys to promote this idea—one guy had the body of a keg, the second had the torso of a can, and the third took the shape of the bottle.
The Wiedemann Brewery of Newport, KY, in the greater Cincinnati area, successfully sold Wiedemann’s Genuine Draft. This product was cold filtered or, as it was described back then, micro filtered. The appellation allowed the brewery not to have to heat pasteurize the beer.
Beers for He-Men and Her, Too
Many breweries promoted the fact that men were the main customers of their brands.
The Bavarian Brewing Co. of Covington, KY, promoted Bavarian’s Old Style beer as “A man’s beer.” About a year into this campaign, there was something of a rebellion by the brand’s women drinkers. Quickly, Bavarian introduced the “Hers too!” slogan as a new marketing tactic. Similarly, the Henry F. Ortlieb Brewery of Philadelphia promoted its Ortlieb’s Premium as the “he-man brew.” This slogan quickly became “Ortlieb’s, the he-man brew that gals love, too.”
When light—as in low-calorie—beers came on the scene, Joe Ortlieb issued his version of light beer by placing three bottles of Ortlieb’s Premium into a six-pack along with three bottle of water. This was his idea of a do-it-at-home light beer kit.
Carling’s Black Label had a long-running, successful ad campaign in which a man would shout, “Mabel!” then whistle and say, “Black Label.”
One television commercial I recall had a husband arriving home and heading for the hammock in the back yard. As he unwound from his work day, his wife went into a flurry of activity that included getting his paper, slippers, snacks, and, of course, his Carling’s Black Label beer. As Carling’s grew as a national brand, the slogan became, “People try it and they like it.”
A tough town like Pittsburgh had two rugged-sounding beers to help the locals quench their thirst. Duquesne Brewing Co. produced the brand, Duke. The slogan was “Even sounds like a man’s beer.”
Pittsburgh Brewing Co.’s Iron City brand used an average Joe Pittsburgh character known as Al Luccioni. Al had the look of about five fathers that I knew growing up. The use of Al as a spokesman helped to strengthen Iron City’s presence around town. To prevent offending either sex, Iron City was advertised as “The Beer Drinker’s Beer.”
And, seeking to appeal to all beer drinkers, Stroh’s from Detroit was for beer lovers. Stroh’s used to toast their beer “from one beer lover to another.”
Beers of Hollywood
Out west in California, the brand dad drank probably was Lucky. The slogan, “It’s Lucky when you live in California,” was extremely successful. Lucky was also advertised as the “Age Dated Beer.” This was one of the early attempts at “born on” dating.
In the Pacific Northwest, the three best-selling beers were Olympia from Tumwater, Rainier from Seattle, and Blitz Weinhard from Portland. Olympia used the slogan, “It’s the water.” Rainier promoted itself as “mountain fresh.” Blitz, advertised as “since 1856,” was the oldest brewery west of the Mississippi.
Our fathers got to drink beer when John Wayne was still alive and aroma therapy was not even invented. This Father’s Day, sit down with dad and enjoy one of his beers. Have one like Iron City, Schaefer, Hamms, or Grain Belt—not a raspberry wheat or a Zima. Tell him you how much you appreciate the shared knowledge. Then tell him not to worry because you’re drinking Genesee.