Welcome, beer lovers, to a time when the brew wasn’t only something to be enjoyed, but actually celebrated as a healthy drink that sparked the appetite and helped you sleep.
Beer has been made and sold in this country since before it even was a country. In fact, as far back as the 1600s, Manhattan (then known as New Amsterdam) was home to some of the first commercial breweries this side of the Atlantic. Still, it took more than a hundred years before companies regularly advertised their wares.
We dove deep into newspaper archives to find hundreds of early ads for beers and brewers — covering the years between the American Revolution and the end of Prohibition — then put them all together to make this picture of the past. With more than 400 individual clippings, hundreds of vintage beer brands are represented! (We have also included a comprehensive index.)
Inside, you will see that beer advertisements in the 18th century were often little more than polite invitations to the locals and passing ship captains. In the 19th century, every brand was “celebrated” and “the best” — while some promotional posters showed creepy caricatures loving their drinks maybe a little too much.
Advertisers of the 20th century built upon all of those concepts, then added their own spin, slipping in buzzwords like “purity” and “cleanliness,” “nourishment” and “food value.”
All of the authentic antique images in this book were carefully chosen, then digitally restored as much as possible to return them to their original glory. Ads are presented in sections based on the date of publication, so you can easily find a specific era, or simply browse the ads to see how trends and techniques changed through the years.
So grab a bottle of your favorite malted beverage, and enjoy this little trip back through time. As they used to say, “After the nervous tension of a day’s work, there’s no better relaxation than a glass of good beer.” Or a book about good beer.