This ad was printed in 1937.  The fancy bottle was the “Steinie.”  It was specially made this way so it easy to handle and didn’t take up space in the fridge or icebox. In an interesting bit of trivia (and according to another Schlitz print ad), the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company pioneered the idea of bottling its beer in brown bottles.  This was done to keep unwanted light out and keep the freshness of the beer in. The good old days when "a truth well told" was at the core of advertising.

An ad from 1937. The fancy bottle was the “Steinie.” It was specially made this way so it easy to handle and didn’t take up space in the fridge or icebox. In an interesting bit of trivia (and according to another Schlitz print ad), the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company pioneered the idea of bottling its beer in brown bottles. This was done to keep unwanted light out and keep the freshness of the beer in. The good old days when “a truth well told” was at the core of advertising.

Case histories of head-butting brand versus brand challenges are always interesting to advertising and marketing tragics like me … read: tired creaky-jointed ad guy who is old enough to watch Mad Men and wonder “Why are they making a movie of my life? More to the point, why aren’t I getting a royalty? I was that soldier!” … but also to most of you, it appears.

But really: who would spend five long, detailed blogs writing up the story of the beer wars in the United States, focused on the brand he loves, Schlitz and it’s everlasting battle with the likes of Budweiser?

Well, my mate Bill, would.

And it’s a good read, too, packed with heaps to learn for marketing managers and ad agency people and consultants and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, including avoiding the hubris that also led icon brands like Coke and Fosters-CUB to change the formulas of their brown fizzy water and Victoria Bitter respectively .

http://billsbrainworks.com/beer-wars-the-birth-of-the-brands/

Don’t say I never give you the good stuff.

If Schlitz want to win the beer wars again – and it would be so nice if they could, because I remember drinking it appreciatively when there was only one American burger bar in the whole of the English town I lived in – yes, I go that far back – which was called, with delicious homage to the States “Alice’s Restaurant” – and yes it was actually run by a bird called Alice – well, if Schlitz need a hand, I reckon they should call Bill in for a chat.

What have they got to lose? If passion equates to likely success, Bill’s their man.

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Comments
  1. A Michelob Dry would be nice about now.

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  2. Bill O says:

    Thanks so much to Stephen for the shout-out! Aussies may be interested to know that Fosters is now being brewed in Texas. It sells in the States for only slightly more than U.S. domestic brands and for far less than other imports or perceived imports. Sapporo, for instance, is now brewed in Canada, which means it can continue to be sold it the U.S. labeled as “imported.” Sapporo still commands a super-premium price-point, no doubt because most buyers think it’s still arriving from Japan. The Foster brothers, for their part, originally arrived in Australia from New York. Small world.

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    • You’re welcome, Bill, and thank you.

      You might be surprised to know that Fosters is virtually unavailable in Australia and no Australian beer drinker I know would even countenance drinking it. It has been effectively “dropped” by CUB inside Australia for years and is only made for the export market or made overseas. Which is fascinating, given that it is such an iconic Australian brand … I think I know one pub in Melbourne that still sells it (there may be more, I just don’t know them) and I am sure tourists are very confused when they come here and can’t find it.

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      • Bill O says:

        I had heard rumors to that effect, but wasn’t sure if they were true until now. Reminds me of Corona, which is seen as the cheap stuff in Mexico, but thrives as a pricy import in the U.S. I personally like Fosters, and their slogan, “Australian for Beer” is great, if no longer really accurate. (Oh, those sneaky copywriters!) What are the popular beers that Australians do countenance drinking?

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        • It varies by State, Bill. A Queensland beer called XXXX is now owned by a big brewer called Tooheys, in itself owned by a Japanese company – XXXX is popular in Qld and NSW along with a variety of other Tooheys brands. In Victoria we almost exclusively drink CUB’s Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught. In South Australia it’s Coopers Pale Ale, an excellent drop which is, ironically, cloudy (as is the local water) leading to the immortal catchphrase “Cloudy, but fine.” In WA they drink Swan Lager.

          I think my favourite local slogan is for Carlton Draught: “Made from Beer.” That has a nice no nonsense Aussie feel to it. 🙂

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