Right at home: freedom and domesticity in the language and imagery of beer advertising 1933-1960.
Historians have contended that the stigma associated with
women's alcohol consumption was largely eliminated by the 1940s.
This paper, building on the work done by those historians, seeks to
explore and, hopefully, complicate the concepts of gender, class, beer
and American culture in the mid-twentieth century through the lens of
beer advertisements. Beer advertisements from the 1930s through the
1950s suggest that the brewing industry didn't simply offer women
uninhibited entry into the masculine world of drink, but rather
redefined that world in terms of the domestic sphere and a woman's
Between the repeal of prohibition in 1933 and industry consolidation at the end of the 1950s, beer advertisements reflected and engaged many broad social questions and concerns. Distinctly gendered, many beer ads reflected debates about the proper role of women, the importance of domesticity, and the aspirations of a consumption-based American middle class. In an effort to create as broad a market as possible without alienating key consumers or giving ground to dry advocates, brewers offered a vision of American society in which the maligned saloon was replaced by the home, in which drinking beer was a man's (and eventually a nation's) inalienable right and providing it for him was a woman's obligation.
This paper is based on beer advertisements, newspaper and magazine articles, American brewery archives and other published materials.
(Interpretation and construction)
Advertising law (Social aspects)
Brewing industry (Advertising)
Brewing industry (History)
Drinking of alcoholic beverages (Social aspects)
Advertising (Laws, regulations and rules)
Advertising (Interpretation and construction)
Advertising (Social aspects)
|Author:||Corzine, Nathan Michael|
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Social History Publisher: Journal of Social History Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: History; Sociology and social work Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Social History ISSN: 0022-4529|
|Issue:||Date: Summer, 2010 Source Volume: 43 Source Issue: 4|
|Topic:||Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 242 Advertising; 310 Science & research Advertising Code: 52 Advertising Activity|
|Product:||Product Code: 9108631 Advertising Regulation NAICS Code: 92615 Regulation, Licensing, and Inspection of Miscellaneous Commercial Sectors SIC Code: 2082 Malt beverages|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Fixing the problems of prohibition was as simple as a recipe for
Bohemian Beer Soup. At least, that is part of the idea that the United
Brewers Industrial Foundation (UBIF) proposed in its early post-repeal
message to the American public. (1) American women, back in the home and
cooking with beer, would convey to all Americans--drinkers and
teetotalers alike--that, beer was safe for women to use in everyday
domestic life. To spread the message, the UBIF funded the publication of
cookbooks which featured recipes calling for beer. One cookbook's
author, Mrs. Helen Schreiber, contended that women using beer "can
do more to prevent intemperance and the tragedies of prohibition than
all the legal coercion in the world." (2)
Though Mrs. Schreiber may not have known it, she had exposed the foundations of a narrative crafted by the brewing industry and its marketers in the years after prohibition. It was a narrative that was shaped almost exclusively, particularly early on, by the memory and lessons of the prohibition experiment. Depending on one's point of view, the tragedy of prohibition might be that it was, as a social and moral crusade, a calamitous failure. From the perspective of the brewers it was a personal tragedy, representing the near undoing of their industry. Well into the 1940s, or at least until World War II, repeal was deemed as much an experiment as prohibition had been. For brewers, then, a repeat of the prohibition tragedy was to be avoided at all costs. (3)
In working to steer America clear of a second prohibition era, the brewers cast their lot against the ominous forces of intemperance and coercion. Designing their new narrative, the brewers crafted a fundamentally American story, revising the image of their product find its place in American society by drawing inspiration from mainstream American values. Those values are reflected in their advertisements, in the imagery and language that they used. Moderation, tolerance and freedom were the watchwords of the industry. Moderation would defy intemperance, invoking the virtues of self-control in defense of beer drinking. Tolerance and freedom would go hand-in-hand, refusing governmental interference in the lives of everyday citizens by establishing the right to drink as a fundamentally American right. Nothing was demanded of those who chose not to imbibe other than the recognition that one was free to do so. In other words, live and let live, the brewers said.
All of this makes for a very compelling story: one industry, fighting for freedom and moderation, set against the forces of intolerance. If only it were so simple. Roland Marchand has argued that advertising is a mirror that reflects, and distorts, reality. Such distortions are often soothing, therapeutic images that help smooth the transition to modernity. Truth is subordinated to the cause of happiness. However, Marchand also contends that if we "focus on the perceptions of social and cultural dilemmas revealed in the tableaux, we will discover accurate, expressive, images of underlying 'realities' of American society." (4) With this in mind, the brewers' narrative is suddenly made quite complicated. The imagery in their ads is often soothing, cliche, and idealistic. These seemingly therapeutic distortions, however, do represent significant underlying realities in their consistent appeal to the highly gendered domestic, conventions of the mid-twentieth century.
Subtly hidden within the narrative of freedom and moderation are sub-narratives reflecting issues of consumption, class, race and gender. These narrative strands are implicit in the advertising imagery and language of the industry. They are the visions of social reality glossed over by paeans to freedom and tolerance. The messages inherent in these sub-narratives are the true siren song of the brewing industry. For men, the ads summoned them to drink, be manly and be American. Good times were waiting. For women the ads represented a symphony of complications and contradictions. They were being offered a ticket into a world heretofore belonging to men, but the price of admission was steep. Sure, women could drink, but the advertisements also delimited the place and manner of the act. More importantly, the ads subverted the act of consumption to the obligation of purchase. Beer meant good times for men, but only if women fulfilled their obligation, to provide it. Only through fulfilling that primary obligation could women share in the good times that beer promised.
By targeting women and stressing their obligation as purchasers, brewers made women the lynchpin of their new narratives. In their gendered vision of the beer-drinking world, beer advertisements addressed social concerns about drinking through a subtle manipulation of the old pre-prohibition standard. Women, the arch-advocates of the temperance crusades, would insure the success of repeal. As preservers of morality and societal values, women as beer purchasers would insure the triumph of moderation and the defeat of intemperance. Their homes would replace the maligned saloon as the social space designated for drinking. As gatekeepers of the home, women were the one social group that brewers had to win over, and while doing so brewers would strive to make beer a symbol of distinction, publishing ads steeped in middle-class imagery while maintaining working class prices. (5)
Taken together, these multifaceted and intersecting narratives provide a unique window onto American social, and cultural development. Between the repeal of prohibition in 1933 and industry consolidation at the end of the 1950s, beer advertisements reflected and engaged many broad social questions and concerns. (6) Distinctly gendered, many beer ads reflected debates about the proper role of women, the importance of domesticity, and the aspirations of a modern American consumer culture.
My argument challenges several conventional histories. For example, Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America, 1870-1940 places women squarely in the middle of the prohibition and repeal era turbulence. Persuasively, Murdock contends that the debates surrounding alcohol between 1919 and 1933 splintered along gendered lines and marked the transition from a Victorian culture to a modern one. While women had once stood at the forefront of the prohibition movement, in the 1920s they began to assert their hard won sense of freedom by becoming, among other things, social drinkers. Murdock, however, stops abruptly at what seems to be the critical moment of repeal. She ultimately seems content to say that all it required for drink to become domesticated was for women, accustomed to drinking in public in the 1920s, to later do so at home. (7)
Murdock's book is one of the standard monographs on women and drink, but it is not the only word on the subject. Historian Cheryl Krasnick Warsh interprets the prohibition and repeal eras through the advertisements of the tobacco and brewing industry. She argues that the stigma associated with female alcohol consumption had been eliminated by the 1940s, and that this represented the success of alcohol and tobacco interests who had been striving to change the perception of women's drinking and smoking. Those interests prioritized profit by encouraging addiction among half the population. (8)
While this is almost certainly true in a very fundamental sense, ascribing almost monolithic and manipulative powers to the advertisers overlooks the broader social complexities of the affair. What does it mean to say that drink is domesticated? Murdock's book stops at the exact moment when it appears the domestication of drink was beginning. Warsh, similarly, contends that women were free to drink--without the application of social stigma--by the 1940s. Beer ads in particular did not so much help eliminate the stigma as reconfigure it within a new, domestic, milieu. Yet that might overstate the agency of the ads and ad-makers themselves. Michael Schudson goes a long way in dispelling the agency of advertisers in creating social change. In his essay on women and cigarette smoking, Schudson reminds readers that "one of the consequences of attributing magical forces to advertising is that it keeps us from thinking more seriously about what really shapes our material lives and about ways in which our national lives are also, inevitably, our symbolic lives." Changes in consumption patterns, Schudson concludes, are rooted in social, cultural and political changes that advertising responds to, but rarely creates. (9)
What all of this in mind, this paper appraises beer advertising between 1933 and 1960. (10) In order to fully appreciate the message of the ads, one might imagine that each ad is composed of two different layers, strands or narratives. One narrative, the one to which we want to pay the most attention, reflects and, perhaps, subtly manipulates social conventions and concerns regarding gender and class. The second layer captures these issues within a narrative about freedom, tolerance and other wholesome American values. What emerges from a close examination of these two narratives is a multifaceted story about the true domestication of beer. (11)
GOOD WIVES AND HAPPY HUSBANDS
A 1940 Budweiser ad says it all. The imagery speaks of middle-class refinement and good taste. A man, reclining contentedly, enjoys his pipe while reading the newspaper. Perhaps he is reading about the political upheaval in Europe. Next to him on the table, conveniently highlighted, are a glass and a bottle of Budweiser. Any reader coming across this particular ad is addressed, in print, by the man's wife. "I'd like you to meet my husband," she begins, "he's the hardest working man I know--the most understanding and devoted. I'm glad he finds so many things in our home that give him the kind of living he likes." Happiness, for this man at least, is a well-stocked icebox and plenty of his "favorite beer." More than that, his wife reminds the reader how much he enjoys the company of good friends and invites them to visit and share a cold glass of Budweiser. Budweiser was a key part of entertaining and made men's "moments of relaxation complete." (12)
Published six years after the repeal of prohibition, the ad captures the essence of what repeal meant to the brewers and, at least to some extent, what they wanted it to mean for American society. Sophisticated, happy, men were drinking at home and that was all that a good wife could ask for. Pabst had offered a similar vision as early as 1933 in an ad that noted "Its A Wise Wife Who Knows Her Husband and Her Pabst Blue Ribbon." Such a wife kept Pabst on hand at all times, primarily for her "hard working, ambitious" husband, because beer "soothes jaded nerves, develops fresh energy, and helps build a sound body." (13)
One did not require a long memory to recall a time when women formed the backbone of the prohibition movement, when beer and hard liquor were saloon-bred evils that threatened the sanctity of a home. (14) Others might have recalled, with equal clarity, a time when beer itself was a distinctly vulgar beverage, beloved by the mostly immigrant working class. (15) Had things changed so dramatically in less than twenty years? Had the brewers cast some transformational magic or tapped into some unknown American impulse?
Influenced by the social questions of' the depression years and sharing a common goal to cast beer as a friendly, American, beverage, brewers and their ads both reflected and, certainly, manipulated the revival of domestic ideology. Swept along in the current of social upheaval, brewers made familiar a new vignette of the middle-class American couple; the hardworking, happy, man and his thoughtful, obligated, wife. (16)
In a delicate position after their 1933 rebirth, the brewing industry had to gauge the best way to appeal to the broadest market while not alienating key segments. Any misstep and they might provide prohibitionists with ammunition. Therefore they would continue to draw on images of women in social settings, on motifs that were clearly tied to the 1920s, while slowly shifting these social occasions into the home. More importantly, brewers focused on women not as pleasure-seekers in their own right hut as shoppers, hostesses, and cooks. It was a significant contradiction, offering women the right to drink beer but delimiting where and how beer consumption would be acceptable for them. As E. W. Huston, the head of Acme Brewing advertising in 1936 noted, women were the road to the home-market "because the woman is the one who guards the pocketbook. That's why we continue making woman-appeal to get our beer into the home." (17)
In some ways the social ferment of the decade created an atmosphere conducive to the brewers' efforts. The promise that repeal would provide a spate of new jobs and revive other slumping industries generated plenty of good will. (18) The economic dislocations of the depression aside, other social and cultural currents dictated the brewers' new introduction.
The effort to send women back to the home, and back into the kitchen, was fueled by economic concerns, especially the rigors of the great depression. In other ways it was a reaction to cultural forces unleashed during the 1920s. In a consumer driven society that had come of age, women emerged a key force, but a force that needed domesticating. To this end, consumption was parsed in terms of woman as the guardian of home, the health and the leisure other family. While some women, relishing the new freedoms available to them, might rail against restoring old values to primacy, the reestablishment of separate spheres was not greeted with concern by all. Writer Christine Frederick upheld and defended the notion. At the time, Frederick was a noted expert on women as consumers and her 1929 book Selling Mrs. Consumer insisted that women consumers were vital to ending the depression. According to Frederick, 80-90% of spending money was in the hand of the female consumer. Women used their finely tuned sense of commerce to care for their families. Where women were the primary consumer, it naturally created the demand for quality and high standards of goods. (19)
Many believed that female consumers were as dangerous as they were critical. Sociologists and literary figures, including Sherwood Anderson commented on a crisis of patriarchy that defined the depression era. "Modern man is losing his ability to retain his manhood," Anderson exclaimed, at exactly the same moment when women were increasingly becoming the central figure in a new culture that emphasized consumption as leisure. To Anderson, America had become a "land where women rule" because men had fallen down on the job. "Women are the great consumers," he said, "they have a passion for possession." Women, to those like Anderson, were hardly ideal consumers, and were in fact regarded as wasteful and senseless in their consumer activities. (20) The response to this perceived crisis, argues Susan Currell, was embedded in new leisure manuals and federal programs that emphasized traditional gender roles. In Recent Social Trends the consumer was referred to primarily as the housewife, a person all too "easily seduced by advertising campaigns." Controlling women's leisure was equated to controlling middle-class waste. Better women buy than work, but it was important to tell them exactly what they should be buying. (21)
In getting beer into the home, brewers were the beneficiaries of not only social transformation, but also technological innovation. By the middle years of the Great Depression, most of the fundamental advances in refrigeration technology had been achieved. (22) The exponential growth of radio ownership also provided brewers--through the sponsorship of afternoon serials--with a potent ally. (23) Overshadowing these critical developments, at least from the brewers' point of view, was the introduction of the metal can as a container for beer. Pioneered by the American Can Company and the Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, the metal can debuted in January 1935. (24) The Continental Can Company extolled the freshness of products that were canned, running ads that turned the table on snooty women who laughed at the homemaker who stocked canned goods. Canning promised not only freshness--"canned means ... garden freshness sealed in"--but also safety thanks to sterilization. The emergence of the can led to efforts on behalf of the bottling industry to focus on the virtues of their product. A potential canners-bottlers' war was defused by the brewing industry which felt a conflict of that nature would endanger their own fragile efforts to reestablish their product. Slow to catch on, packaged beer would eventually become the centerpiece of the brewing industry's new marketing plans. (25)
Aided by technology, brewers were able to shift the scene of action from the tavern to the home in ways they had never dreamed prior to prohibition. (26) The keg-lined can, because it was relatively cheap, easy to carry, and easy to store and refrigerate represented a crucial development in this regard. Both canners and bottlers supported the key social argument that a wife who served beer at home ultimately kept her man out of the saloon. (27)
Technology may have facilitated the brewing industry's entrance into the home, but beer advertising primarily reflected social and cultural concerns. The key transition was placing beer at the center of an exuberant social atmosphere while simultaneously establishing it in home life. The shift in Budweiser advertising imagery in this period is telling. A 1933 ad entitled "Where There's Life ..." portrayed a glamorous social scene, a woman in a fur shawl looking out over a well-dressed crowd where some dance, while others are served beer. Budweiser, the ad opines "is naturally the choice of those who live life at its best." In this depiction the beverage is hailed as distinguished, the imagery and the language offering a clear lesson that Budweiser beer is a beverage that befits high society and wealth. Other ads over the next year continued to portray Budweiser in an opulent social setting. Ads featuring an African-American servant pouring glasses for the host of a party, a polo player and well-dressed gentlemen toasting an agreement all served to recast Budweiser in terms of class and place. Here were echoes of the Jazz Age. This focus on glamour and high class society was also reflected in soft-drink industry ads such as those created by Coca-Cola and Canada Dry Ginger Ale. (28)
Schlitz's first run of ads in 1934 also evoked the Roaring Twenties world of glamour and debutantes. "Smart People Drink Schlitz" one ad insisted, cheering American youth as the finest arbiters of good taste and distinction. A harbinger of marketing ploys that would eventually dominate the industry, this early Pabst ad tan along with other ads that continued to focus on high society imagery. (29) Even then, however, there was a hint of the shift to come. While ball-room glitz dominated the imagery, the print in another ad insisted that Schlitz was being served in "well-ordered homes" and invited the stamp of approval from "smart hostesses." (30)
The imagery in the ads changed swiftly by the middle of the depression. Gone were party scenes and class distinctions. In place of these ads, Budweiser turned to history, to appeals for natural quality and to home in depicting their product. In an ad clearly addressed to female buyers, a woman is depicted vigorously drying off her child after a bath. "Imagine washing your face for 36 hours!" the ad boldly exclaims. "Soak ... scrub ... bubble and churn - 36 hours of it! That's what happens to every bit of barley used in brewing Budweiser. And in water that is constantly "washed" with compressed air. All this on top of a thorough vacuum-cleaning!" Class distinction, gaiety and glamour had been replaced with a focus on purity, "scrupulous cleanliness," healthfulness and uniformity.
Blatz of Milwaukee ran similar ads promising their Old Heidelberg pilsner was the "way to a man's heart." Falstaff focused on the social stigma of serving bad beer, portraying a couple behind the "eight ball" before they discovered Falstaff Winter Beer "which made them the most popular people in town." Falstaff was the life of the party, the hit of gatherings everywhere. "Serve it to your family and friends," the ad insists, "it's a sign of good taste - a guarantee of good times." It even came, the ad reminded, in a "take-me-home" six bottle bag with convenient space-saving bottles. Beer marketers were not only blending social and domestic scenes, but were also appealing to good taste and savvy consumer sensibilities. (31)
The transformation in this period is striking. Rather than focusing on erasing the stigma of women drinking, beer ads instead reflected the reinforcement of domestic ideology. This may well have been a choice meant to garner bigger profits in the long-run, but in the 1930s brewers made a conscious choice that crafting a safe image for their product was their top priority. In response to the evils of the old saloon, they offered the American home. The beverage itself was healthful enough for both men and women, but to drink was still a man's prerogative. The right to drink beer remained, in essence, a man's right - he could drink it outside or inside at home without stigma - but women were confined to the home and then their drinking took on a secondary status. Beer at home was in the best interest of masculine leisure and was an element of sanctuary in a hard world. Keeping beer in stock was, ultimately, a wife's obligation.
Women who felt trapped by this new beer-buying domesticity were met with disapproval in a society that, eager to escape the depression, embraced it. One young housewife wrote a concerned letter to Washington Post advice columnist Mary Haworth, in which .she bemoaned the activities of her husband, a man who spent most of his leisure time at the tavern, and who ignored his obligation to wife and child in the interest of drinking. When he was around, he wasn't happy, the wife lamented. Ha worth's response was blistering. Husbands, she pointed out, cannot be chained at home. "What brings them hurrying home to be companions to their wives ... is the sure knowledge that the atmosphere of her creating is the most pleasant atmosphere in the world to them. In any event," Haworth continued, "it is every wife's business (her indispensable contribution to the marriage's success) to supply her husband with the kind of social fare best suited to his temperament and income." Haworth, quite boldly, shifted the blame from the husband to the woman. If a man was drawn to spend his leisure time in a saloon, then his wife was tailing in one key obligation of her marriage: she had to make the home a center of leisure. She was wife and waitress, her home both private sanctuary and tavern. (32)
FREEDOM AND DOMESTICITY IN WARTIME AMERICA
The barmaid was one of the popular symbols of the old-fashioned English pub, a character of no great significance, but one it was assumed that could take care of herself--at least until German bombs starting falling on England. In the United States it was legislation, not bombs, which aimed to remove the barmaid from the bar. In 1941, several months before the December tragedy at Pearl Harbor, the state senate of Illinois passed a bill which prohibited all women (save for the wife of the proprietor) from tending a bar. The problem, vaguely defined, was that the English barmaid--for reasons that are never disclosed--could "draw a glass of bitter without at the same time drawing out a fresh guy." The implication here was that bar work threatened the virtues of American women. The reality, writers at the Chicago Daily Tribune surmised, was probably closer to this: women just didn't belong in bars. The old time test of a good bartender, writers said, was his ability to "clear the bar with, one hand free and the bung starter in it. Possibly skirts would make this impossible. Or do they still wear skirts?" (33)
The movement to legislate women out of work, as bartenders was the precursor of a broader wartime movement to legislate all women out of bars, or at least away from the barstools themselves. (34) The barmaid, the female bar patron and the wartime crisis all conflated the old questions of gender and place that had troubled Americans in the depression years. The woman in the bar, as employee or patron, threatened the world of happy husbands and good wives. To many Americans the tavern was still a man's place. It was impossible, some said, to discuss the virtues of "the little woman at home" when the "little woman" was sitting on the next barstool or, worse, was behind the bar. The revival of domesticity reflected in beer (and other) advertisements in the 1930s was threatened when women invaded male space and tried to appropriate rights that were, still in 1940, strictly a man's. (35)
America's entrance into World War II could very well have complicated and shifted the carefully composed brewers' narrative. To be sure, the rhetoric of freedom, moderation and tolerance played superbly to wartime ears--brewers were quick to make fascism, gluttony and intemperance foils for their industry. Domestic upheaval on the other hand, as women flooded in to the workplace to replace men summoned to war, presented the brewing industry with a serious challenge.
What to make of working women? Surely this presented the brewing industry with a prime opportunity to seduce the female market as drinkers, and to--in Warsh's terms--foist, addiction upon them in the name of profit. (36) That did not happen. While marketers for other products made the working woman a key-part of their wartime advertising campaigns, brewers for the most part blithely ignored them. When they did take notice, the language and imagery of their ads were striking.
This decision can be explained in a number of ways. The most obvious answer is that the brewing industry remained wary of prohibition's return. The brewers recognized that women's drinking remained quire stigmatized, as evidenced in part by the legislation to move them out of bars. At the same time, the war did provide temperance and prohibition advocates with a shot of enthusiasm and the brewing industry was, for quite some time, tied up in defending its right, to exist. It might well have been industrial suicide to rock the social boat too much, to suddenly offer women full access to the world of beer drinking when many saw alcohol as a threat to women and, as such, a threat to American virtues and democracy. (37) So, rather than risk upsetting the narrative that they had care-fully crafted, brewers continued to emphasize it, setting the stage for a triumphant post-war ad campaign.
Wartime advertising often targeted women, enticing them into the workforce. As Maureen Honey has noted, "the images of the war workers in advertising during much of the recruitment campaign had the central purpose of attracting women into fields drained by the enlistment of men and encouraging public acceptance of women in new roles." Such ads distinctly implied that women were capable of being much more than domestics. (38) Were they, then, entitled to the same rights as the men who had once filled such roles? Was Rosie the Riveter entitled to a glass of beer when she got home? Could she rightfully meet her colleagues at the bar after work? On these questions, the brewers were mostly mum.
By and large beer ads during the war years adopted a number of basic themes. On one hand there were ads that purposely made beer secondary. They focused instead on the industrial and scientific accomplishments of the brewery, countering the calls of prohibitionists that insisted the brewers were a detriment to the cause and were siphoning off valuable supplies of labor and raw resources. Budweiser pioneered these sorts of ads, showing just how their brewery was an essential part of the war effort. "All America Knows Budweiser," one of the ads claimed, "but few are aware to what extent endless research in making the world's leading beer has led to the manufacture of many other products. It has been our good fortune over the years to expand our service to the country by the development of many products which contribute to human necessity and progress, thus providing jobs for many workers and economic security for many families." (39)
Through their wartime ads Anheuser-Busch's marketers showed how the brewery responsible for Budweiser was also responsible for providing farmers with high quality yeast to feed livestock, how their refrigeration unit was behind the development of gliders for the U.S. military, how their researchers were supplying vitamins for children. Schlitz followed suit, describing how their product went overseas to provide morale to the troops, and how advancements in the industry helped fuel technological advances that would benefit America in the post-war world. Schlitz even self-styled its product "the beer of tomorrow" (but you can have it today!) (40)
The fight for freedom--from fascism and prohibitionists--was another recurring motif. "The Minuteman Is Still the Man of the Hour" one Budweiser ad crowed. Numerous ads reminded readers of the importance of rationing or of purchasing war bonds. One newspaper ad, part of a long-running series featuring USBA spokesman Joe Marsh, insisted that voting wet was patriotic--returning soldiers would certainly appreciate it. (4l)
As Victor Visor has argued, wartime ads mirrored the experiences of society and helped to support value production. Beer ads, like those for other products, conflated the concepts of principled consumerism with good citizenship. Coca-Cola's advertising, for example, emphasized patriotism and the cause of the American soldier. These kinds of ads, Mark Weiner concluded after studying Coke's productions, helped to promote community and civic participation. (42)
Another theme juxtaposed patriotism, morale and domesticity. These sorts of ads were little different from pre-war beer ads, except, of course, for the dramatic context. These ads linked the war to the defense of American domesticity. Men were fighting for the right to come home, to their wives--in their proper domestic role--and to their beer. Beer, in fact, was an essential right for which men were fighting, and the very memory of it was enough to keep their morale high.
Morale, the ads said, "is a lot of little things." In one ad a man recounted his daily routine: "Janie give me a good-bye kiss at the door this morning. Same as usual. I start down the walk, same as usual ... then I feel Janie's arms around my neck--tight. I get a big smack and then she beats it into the house." It was the small things, "things like that," that set Americans up to succeed. As far as the brewers were concerned, kisses or beer meant the same thing. The ad continued:
The morale advertising campaign reached its pinnacle in 1944 when the USBA produced a series of ads based on soldiers' letters home. Artist Don Crock-well was commissioned to provide paintings that captured the brewers' domestic vision. The general spirit of the ads was that soldiers thought about, and wanted to remember, the simple things from home: grilling a steak out of doors, mom's apple pie, and the joy of carving a Halloween pumpkin. As each ad concluded, "when he writes from overseas, it isn't the battles and heroics that he writes about ... it is the little things ... the small, familiar, things he thinks about." Of course, pleasant thoughts may wander from pies to pumpkins, but the one thing all soldiers recalled and cherished was the "right to enjoy a cool, refreshing, glass of beer." (44)
Both men and women were doing their part to preserve and defend American rights that included drinking beer and the preservation of a domesticated society. Wartime propaganda and advertising emphasized the temporary nature of women's work. They made it abundantly clear that, once the war was over, women were obligated to head back into the home. Makeup and toiletry ads offered ways for women to retain their essential femininity even while on the industrial factory line. (45)
While many products at least addressed working women, even if only to acknowledge the temporary nature of their jobs, beers ads ignored that segment of the market almost entirely, P. Ballantine & Sons produced some of the most striking beer ads of the war years, offering in 1942-1943 a series entitled "How American Is It ... To Want Something Better." For the most part these ads emphasized American ingenuity, the future dreams of a middle-class society (putting off that new home, or some new kitchen appliances for mother? You'll have them when the war is over, the ads promised), and the timeless search for that perfect moderate beverage. In each of these ads Ballantine's foamy product was linked to these uniquely American dreams and virtues. One notably different ad depicted a pair of women in coveralls walking away from a bank teller's window. While these women might be dreaming of a future home, or marriage, or even an education, the ad informed readers, for now they understood the importance of joining the work force, and of purchasing stamps and war bonds to help the cause. (46)
What seems evident in a looking at beer advertisements from the war era is that brewers either would not, or could not, address women as beer drinkers. (47) Confronted by prohibitionists who claimed the brewing industry was an American Fifth Column or who insisted that "we'll need a sober nation for this war ... and we'll need a sober nation in the hard times that will follow it," brewers had to proceed carefully. Relying on patriotic rhetoric and the image of domesticity, often reducing the actual beer plugs to footnotes, and courting the support of political figures, brewers were able to counter every offensive by prohibition forces. (48) Never far away was the vision of a world populated by middle-class home dwellers, happy husbands, and still obligated wives. (49)
By the end of the war the new domestic ideal was firmly ensconced as the marvel and wonder of American life. The American woman was the envy of the world--she could call upon a wealth of ingenious gadgets to ease the drudgery of home life. While beer advertisements had not made this world, they certainly reflected the social attitudes that had. No ads better depicted the essence of postwar American, lire than a series titled "Beer Belongs." In a long-running series of ads throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, USBA marketers relied on the talents of some of America's finest artists to create perfect encapsulations of post-war family life, leisure attitudes and domesticity.
While the vision of beer advertisers was perfected in the industry's most impressive advertising effort, the foundations that supported the industry's narrative began to crumble. Without the economic constraints of depression or war to deal with, the brewing industry began to heed the siren call of competition. The increase in subsidiary breweries, for example, can be traced to this period. Schlitz purchased the George Ehret Brewery in Brooklyn in 1949. It was the company's first venture in a non-Milwaukee plant. Anheuser-Busch, in 1951, built a new brewery in Newark, and a second in Los Angeles in 1954- Brewers were beginning to draw the lines of an emerging national market where the strongest breweries would rule supreme. (50)
Even while brewers envisioned expansion, some feared that President Truman would support a prohibition movement and return the country to the black days of the 1920s. The 1948 Prohibition Party platform promised to free the electorate from what it termed the "liquor power." (51) Even as late as 1947, the brewing industry was still trying to feel out its customer base. A letter to the brewers union in Missouri expressed concern about the perceptions of brewing in rural areas and the challenges of reaching that particular market. "Many of them [rural citizens] believe it is absolutely sinful pet se to have any connection with it [brewing industry] whatever, or to touch our product to their lips. They believe that those of us in it wear horns." (52) For the industry to be successful, it still needed to show how its product was a natural part of American life.
Capitalizing most fully on the stylization of commodities, brewing set about making beer a symbol of the better life. As Stuart Ewen contends, people could define themselves by the products they purchased. As part of the "Beer Belongs" and "Beverage of Moderation" campaigns, the U.S. Brewers Foundation Inc. displayed ads that implied that beer and ale made a home. As they elaborated in their letters to brewing industry members explaining the ads, "we position beer and ale in a homey situation with nice people and with pleasant surroundings." (53) Beer and ale were not only American beverages; they were the American beverages. To aspire to a middle-class life, to possess the kind of distinction and good taste that would fit into postwar society, to realize the dream of the ideal American home meant drinking beer. The right to drink beer was a valuable personal freedom. Beer was a symbol of moderation, a natural, desirable, part of the typical American home. (54)
The brewing industry vision of a gendered, domesticated, American society was captured most perfectly in this most concerted and unified advertising campaign of the post-repeal decades. The goal, elucidated by the United Brewers Foundation, was to offer idealized visions of American life in which beer--"wholesome and friendly"--held a central place. (55) The new ads debuted in 1945 and featured beautiful artwork depicting various leisure activities. The imagery was highly gendered. Men were depicted working or, more often, engaging in various hobbies. In almost every way the ads were logical extensions of wartime era advertising, continuing to focus on the themes of freedom even as the war against fascism was replaced by a cold war against communism.
The ads rarely, if ever, strayed from the overarching narrative. Beer belonged at home--in front of the radio, listening to the football game, in front of the television, during the holidays, when family visited, out in the yard for a BBQ or in the moments after the wedding. Each ad, beneath the artwork, offered the gospel of the brewers:
The nostalgic visions conjured in the "Beer Belongs" ads were snapshots of American life as imagined by Busch, Ballantine, Schlitz, Pabst and other breweries. Here, men were men and women were domestics. Men, for example, might find pleasure in a day at the lake, fishing, or a ballgame. Beer, in any setting, was a pleasurable right. Yet, it remained a secondary right for women and then, as always, usually only in the privacy of the home. Although many "Beer Belongs" ads showed women drinking, or implied that women will he drinking (for example, a women brings in a tray with four beers for two couples sitting on the couch), in the rare ad that sets beer in a non-home setting, only the men appear to have access to beer. (57) This sort of imagery was consistent with the brewers' narrative of rights and obligations. In the imagery of the ads the spaces and circumstances of women's drinking was delimited by continuing concern for their social and moral value.
The stigma associated with women's drinking remained into the 1950s and, though the boundaries weakened in that decade to be sure, the stigma remains extant--but somewhat muted--today. Genevieve Knupfer's 1962 survey of the San Francisco area offered some interesting results. On every question related to the frequency of drinking, amount of drinking and disapproval of drunkenness, women supported stricter social standards. It remained "typical of both sexes to think it worse for a woman to drink too much." (58) Drinking, it was thought, threatened to release sexual inhibitions and was, thus, a serious threat to women's morality. A survey from the state of Washington found similar results, while surveys conducted in the ghetto confirmed that a strict double-standard for drinking existed regardless of race, class or gender. (59)
Even while women's right to drink remained questionable, their obligation to provide beer for the home remained unquestioned. Women, it was widely acknowledged, were symbols of American affluence. (60) American technology, Richard Nixon informed Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev, made the lives of American women easier. (61) The housewife's responsibilities included not only the daily drudgery of housework, hut also taking care of the children, helping her husband's social standing through hosting and attending parties, impressing his employers, and just generally keeping him happy. In the first chapter of his explosive 1959 book, The Status Seekers, Vance Packard contended that American class lines were growing increasingly rigid, that the "classless society" was anything but, and that while Americans "strived and strained" to attain the symbols of class distinction, women were perhaps the most status conscious creatures of all. (62)
Newspapers, as they had in the early years of the Great Depression, ran full articles on the glitziest social gatherings. Where was the fun? By running stories about local socialites and their "Beer-BQ Parties" newspapers offered readers an idea of what good, American, leisure time meant. (63) While the cocktail party remained the essential symbol of high-class drinking, brewers could take satisfaction in the knowledge that beer was no longer regarded as a working class beverage. Decades of publishing middle-class imagery in their ads had succeeded in broadening the appeal of their beverage, suggesting that while ads most often respond to change, they can sometimes push it along as well. The U.S. Brewers' Foundation discovered in a 1954 survey that two-thirds of all US families drank beer at home, and two-thirds of all men drank beer, accounting for 78% of the total malt beverage consumption. More than four out of ten women were drinking beer, about 22% of the total. (64) Imported beers were growing increasingly popular as well. Much like a wine tasting, men and women would attend parties where new imports were unveiled and tasted - these imports included contemporary import staples Heineken, Bass, and Guinness. (65) Ezra Taft Benson, the Secretary of Agriculture, even listed beer as one of the necessities of farm life. (66)
Industry efforts to normal be beer in the American home were aided tremendously by the advent of television. Now beer advertising could find its way into the home not only via radio and print media, but also through the increasingly ubiquitous T.V. Brewers, still interested in assuring good relations, ordered restraint in producing television ads. The shadowy concerns of female virtue, domesticity and promiscuity continued to inform advertisers' efforts. USBA guidelines stipulated that "TV beer advertising should not include any scenes of riotous hilarity, or portray sexual passion as a result of drinking beer." Nor should they ever "show a beer drinker littering." (67)
"Television, with its grainy picture and rabbit ears," recalled an article in Beverage Industry, "had a greater impact on American culture during the 1950s than such newsmakers as the Cold War, rock 'n' roll and the polio vaccine." It had a dramatic pull on consumers. As early as 1951, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. sponsored television programs, including the Bob Dixon Show and The Adventures of Kit Carson. Ocean Spray's first TV commercials debuted in 1952. (68) In January 1950, Anheuser-Busch became the first brewing company to sponsor what was considered a "big-time" network television show, the Ken Murray variety show. It was discovered that, on average, the rate of increase in sales of Budweiser beer was twice as much in areas having television as it was in the non-T.V. areas. (69) This almost certainly suggests that the brewers were learning, in halting fashion, to use television to increase their market share. Nevertheless, these increases did little to alter per capita beer consumption figures, numbers that would skyrocket only after the introduction and promotion of lite beer in the early 1970s. (70)
One animated beer ad captured the atmosphere perfectly. "Hey, Mabel!" the famous TV commercial opened. It featured a tired business man entering his tiny home. He changed clothes and strolled onto the lawn. A voice-over intoned:
Meanwhile, his wife is feverishly doing a series of chores - "Weed the garden, Cut the grass, Paint the window, fix the glass, Trim the shrubbery, Grind the Axe ..." and then carrying a tray of beer to her husband, "but take it easy, dear, relax!" (71)
Resistance to increased beer advertising, however, was strong, especially among religious affiliations. Congress held hearings on the question of liquor advertising throughout the early 1950s. Critics based much of their argument on the sanctity of the home, sanctity that was allegedly violated by the intrusion of beer and liquor ads. Such ads appeared in any number of programs, but most disconcerting to critics was the appearance of liquor ads, featuring animated characters, that generally appealed to children. (72) From time to time national papers published wild stories about the tragedies caused by alcohol consumption. One woman tried to cure her husband's drinking habit by lacing his beer with arsenic. Three Detroit wives and their children were abandoned by their husbands who left them to travel to California with a neighbor who purchased beer for them. Another woman shot her husband after an argument about her hiding of the beer. (73) When women were not killing their husbands, or when husbands were not traversing the country in pursuit of free beer, a marriage might simply end in divorce. One divorce was, in fact, predicated on the grounds that the husband not only could not have beer or tobacco in the home, but his wife forbade him to watch any programs that contained beer advertising. (74)
As part of a response to criticism coming from church groups and other reformers, the U.S. Brewers' Foundation funded the educational film "As We Like It". Debuting in the mid-1950s, it was a propaganda piece that focused on beer's "rich tradition" and history. In addition to claiming that America's founders did great things while "drinking their favorite ales," it exhibited a number of striking themes. It extolled the scientific element of brewing, how that added to beer's inherent qualities, and how the product was also produced in the cleanest environments. Beer, the film's narrator explains, contains many nutritional elements. The video points out, proudly, that the brewing industry provides jobs and is a key foundation of America's agricultural economy. It goes on and on, but most significant is its constant reference to "gracious living". Here, beer is portrayed as a fundamental right for Americans, a choice that everyone--men and women--should be able to make. The neighborhood tavern is an integral community center, the home a comfortable refuge from the workday world (as long as beer is there). The local grocer is the final link in a chain that brings the best possible product to the consumer (the housewife). People like the grocer or the tavern keeper are, by their association with the brewing industry, naturally inclined to be good citizens. In the end the video takes a stab at those who would use any excuse to return the country to the days of prohibition. It ties drinking beer to the concepts of "gracious living", "easy entertaining", community, citizenry, freedom of choice and self-government. The idea that beer could be taken away was not only prudish, but was implied to be utterly un-American. (75)
By the end of the 1950s the vision that Cheryl Krasnick Warsh described in Smoke and Minors had become reality. The united front of the brewers had crumbled beneath the first industry mergers and the emergence of a national market had made any and all marketing targets fair game. (76) There is something more to this story, of course. Brewers could begin to advertise to women in overt fashion because, as it often happens, social values were changing again. This time around, however, marketing required no ambivalence. The threat of a return of prohibition was well past. The new focus shifted away from the almost three decade's long affair with emphasizing domesticity, freedom and obligation to one that emphasized youth and sexuality. Ads for distilled liquors finally began to depict women in their ads in 1958, beginning what William Boyenten has described as increasing boldness in targeting the youth market and the ladies. (77)
By 1960 the brewers' narrative had fragmented. The transformations of the post-war period radically altered the brewing industry's alignment. No longer united in a common cause against the forces of prohibition, the strongest brewers had expanded into the national market and squeezed weaker local competition out of business. There were 252 operational breweries in 1958, a vast decline from the 766 that had been running in 1935. A.M. McGahan neatly sums up the emergence of a brewing oligopoly by targeting the economics of the post-repeal era. So long as brewers were forced to restrain their advertising to avoid alienating broad segments of society, a measure of equality was enforced in the industry. Restraint, McGahan claims, evaporated in the post-war era as it became increasingly clear that the prohibition threat was all but ended. Those breweries that had the means were able to expand their advertising budgets exponentially. Taking advantage of the television medium, they surged along with the social transformation begun in the immediate wake of repeal. (78)
McGahan's study focuses on the economic concerns of the industry. What advertising the industry undertook was influenced, most pressingly, by economic concerns. Contrary to Cheryl Krasnick Warsh's argument that a drive for profits influenced industry advertisements, McGahan contends that brewers were willing to forego immediate profits in the interest of winning the hearts and minds of the public. That required the industry to tread carefully along complex, shifting, social fault lines. Brewers had to appeal to as broad a market as possible while avoiding alienating key segments. Women, especially after the 1920s, were an integral segment of society that needed winning over. The ways in which brewers presented their product to women were largely influenced by the social and cultural context of the times.
In an industry-wide effort to recast beer as a safe and respectable beverage while erasing pre-prohibition stigmas, brewers presented the American home as a safe, logical, alternative to the maligned saloon. They appealed to women, the moral guardians of the home. The vision beer ads offered was a highly gendered one in which women were defined not by new freedoms, but old responsibilities. At the same time, this new domesticity involved a merging of old spheres and emphasized the role of women as consumers in American society. Beer was cast as the right of hard-working men. Allowing beer into the home for male consumption was the obligation of women.
If the depression had provided the context for beer's resurrection and entry into the American home, World War II offered both challenges and opportunities for the industry. As men went off to fight, the threat of prohibition loomed larger than ever. The carefully crafted narrative of domesticity that brewery marketers had constructed was threatened as women took on male roles in wartime industry. Like women, the industry portrayed itself as doing its part to help the cause. At the same time, however, it dramatically redefined beer's place in American society. Emphasizing freedom, equality and tolerance, beer ads in the war years sought to establish beer and beer drinking as a fundamental American right. Beer was one of the "little things" that men were fighting for. Rather than trying to win a woman's market of beer drinkers, however, these ads continued to insist on women's place in domestic roles. If men were fighting for the right to drink beer, they were also fighting for the right to drink it in a home where the woman was firmly ensconced as the central domestic figure.
The gendered vision of beer advertisements was firmly established in the post-war advertising campaigns that placed beer in the center of American social life. While different breweries were increasingly competitive on the advertising front, and with TV as a crucial catalyst, the final push of a united brewing advertising effort provided a vivid reflection of American social convictions and gender conventions in an affluent post-war world even as it occasionally helped push social change in favorable directions. A sort of feminine mystique had emerged very clearly in the language and imagery of beer ads. At the same time, a future of increasingly sexy imagery and an increasing focus on the woman as drinker was hinted at. While social stigmas regarding women's drinking remained, industry-wide competition made capturing women drinkers a necessity.
The all-female Rheingold beer ads featuring "Miss Rheingold" (a brewing industry figure in the "Miss America" mold) debuted in 1945. Not long after that, Adam Scheidt's brewery tried to link patriotism and sexuality in a series of label changes in late 1949 and again in 1952. They played on the Valley Forge Revolutionary War them, creating a "Valley Forge Girl" for advertising, even though some groups such as the DAR objected. Their new can even went on to win a prize for the best new can design at the Brewer's Association meeting in Chicago in 1953. (79) Other beer ads specifically targeting women became increasingly abundant after 1955. (80) Nevertheless, even after the Lite Beer revolutions of the early 1970s, women never figured as the primary market for brewers.
The brewing industry's approach to social, complexities was far more varied and subtle than is often depicted. This is not to say that the industry was not manipulative in its efforts to win consumers, but rather its efforts were shaped, sometimes constrained, and always informed by social complexities. More than anything else, beer advertisements expressed a very consistent message about gender roles. In recasting beer's image, some things would stay the same: beer was a man's drink. Some things would change: in place of the saloon, the home is the new space for drinking. Women presented the most intriguing and dangerous variable for the brewing industry to deal with. Striking an almost contradictory path, women were offered the privilege of drinking beer while that privilege was contained in the home and linked to domestic and consumer responsibilities. All of this is to say that, in a striking manner, the brewing industry was less interested in the promise of profits from a wide market than it was in playing to predominant social reactions to the 1920s. Rather than trying to appeal to New Women, liberated social drinkers, beer marketers sang a sweet song of seduction to their long-time nemesis - the domestic housewife.
In a post-repeal world where beer advertising is ubiquitous, few industries have so masterfully kept a finger on the pulse of the American majority. The images crafted by the brewing industry in the decades after repeal, often idealized and superficial, nevertheless reflected fundamental social realities. The brewers slowly transformed perception of their product by offering seductive messages about class and gender that would appeal to the broadest majority. Their extolment of happy husbands and good wives was an echo of the American dream writ in the language of leisure and drink. (81)
Department of History
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2087
(1.) "Beer Magnates Vote 'Dignity' for Their Brew," Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1933; p. 7. The United Brewers Industrial Foundation was created in the wake of repeal in order to "make the public realize the true value of beer as a national drink. We are interested," its founders said, "primarily in letting the public know just how sanitary, healthful, and beneficial good beer really is." It was essentially the public relations arm of the Untied States Brewers Association (USBA). See the entry in William L. Downard, Dictionary of the History of the American Brewing and Distilling Industries, (Westport, 1980), p. 197-198.
(2.) "Beer Group Uses Car Cards," New York Times, August 25, 1937, p. 26; "Beer's Virtues for Cooking Extolled by Brewers Group," Washington Post, September 2, 1937, p. 11; That brewers might use cookbooks to dispense ideology is not surprising, Jessamyn Neuhaus has contended that, cookbooks in the 1920-1930s offered women cooking as a creative outlet, but ultimately asserted that their primary concern was their husband's happiness. That happiness depended on a wife's creativity; such creativity was both the reward and obligation of domestic life. Jessamyn Neuhaus, Manly Meals and Mom's Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America, (Baltimore, 2003), p. 78; see also, Rheta Childe Dorr, Drink: Coercion or Control (New York, 1929), p. 2.
(3.) "Ruppert Links Beer and Social Welfare," New York limes, April 17, 1933, p.2; United States Brewers Association, Fifty-Eighth Convention, Proceedings, p. 10.
(4.) Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity 1920-1940 (Berkeley, 1985), p. 360-363.
(5.) For discussions about the desirability of five-cent beer see: "Nickel Beer Soon, Aim of Brewers." New York Times, January 7, 1935, p. 19; The Washington Post, January 22, 1933, p. R6; The Washington Post, February 20, 1933, p. 6; "Beer," Chicago Daily Tribune, April 10, 1933, p. 12; New York Times, December 8, 1932, p. 1-3. In this last piece AFL spokesman Matthew Woll, speaking on the issue of repeal, concluded that "what this nation needs today is a good five-cent glass of beer."
(6.) In producing this paper I have relied on a framework proposed by A.M. McGahan in "The Emergence of the National Brewing Oligopoly: Competition in the American Market, 1933-1958," The Business History Review 65 (1991): 229-284. McGahan offers an economic periodization of the industry's history in which from 1933-1941 the industry, reeling from prohibition, made profits secondary to a unified vision meant to appeal to the broadest possible market. Direction changed in the early 1950s when the industry no longer feared prohibition, competition increased and advertising expenditures skyrocketed.
(7.) Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America 1870-1940, (Baltimore, 1988); see also Madelon Powers, "Women and Public Drinking 1890-1920," History Today 45 (1995), p.46-52 which contends that working-class women during the late 19th and early 20th centuries participated significantly in public drinking in saloons and elsewhere, using "ladies entrances", backroom social events, and the carry-out trade to drink with friends in their neighborhoods.
(8.) Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, "Smoke and Mirrors: Gender Representation in North America Tobacco And Alcohol Advertisements Before 1950," Histoire Sociale 31 (1999): 183-222.
(9.) Micheal Schudson, "Women, Cigarettes, and Advertising in the 1920s: A Study in the Sociology of Consumption" in Mass Media Between the Wars: Perceptions of Cultural Tension, 1918-1941, ed. Catherine L. Covert, John D. Stevens (Syracuse, 1984), p. 71-86; see also: Michael Schudson, Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: It's Dubious Impact on American Society (New York, 1984).
(10.) The pool of ads for this project is drawn from a number of key sources. The first and most valuable source of ads is popular periodical literature from the era, periodicals most likely to be read by homemakers and consumers of the time. Focusing entirely on beer advertisements, this research is based primarily on a survey of Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post between the years 1930-1955. To a lesser extent, advertisements from periodicals such as Look, American, and other magazines, as well as national and local newspapers, were analyzed. In addition to these print sources, an online repository of beer advertisements (http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/beermaghome.html under the auspices of the Museum of Beverage Containers and Advertising provided a tremendous visual resource, exhibiting hundreds of beer advertisements from throughout the twentieth century.
(11.) Lori Rotskoff, Love on the Rocks: Men, Women, and Alcohol in Post-World War II America (Chapel Hill, 2002) is arguably the most complete monograph on the topic of gender and alcohol, devoting considerable attention to the problematic culture of alcoholism. Rotskoff, however, does address advertising and the "domestication" of drink that rakes place in the 1940s, focusing on the alcoholic beverage industry in its entirety, and her conclusions suggest a much more complicated transformation than is described by either Murdock or Warsh.
(12.) "Portrait of a Happy Husband," Budweiser Ad, 1940, http://www.yesterdaypaper.com/ad_pages/3321.html; A Similar ad from 1940 entitled "Their Hero Arrives on the Next Bus" in Colliers, April 20, 1940, p. 94 explores a children's appreciation of the hard-working father figure and how he deserves a cold Budweiser waiting when he gets home.
(13.) "It's A Wise Wife ...," Pebst Blue Ribbon Ad, Colliers, November 4, 1933, p. 49.
(14.) Eric Burs, The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol, (Philadelphia, 2004) and Andrew Barr, Drink: A Social History of America (New York, 1999) are solid, general, histories with overviews of the temperance movement and prohibition Kenneth Rose, American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition (New York, 1996) offers a compelling history of the W.O.N.P.R and the movement for repeal.
(15.) During World War I John Strange, the former lieutenant-governor of Wisconsin, had insisted that "the worst of all our German enemies, the most treacherous, the most menacing, are [the brewers] Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller," From the Milwaukee Journal, February 13, 1918 quoted in Thomas C. Cochran, The Pabst Brewing Company: Tire History of an American Business (New York, 1948), p. 320.
(16.) The various ads derailed in this essay are deemed to be representative of the entire corpus of surveyed ads from the era. Between the first years of repeal, where ads still utilized appeals to sophistication and socializing in a 'Jazz Age' milieu, and the early 1960s when beer and liquor ads increasingly emphasized youth and sexuality, beer ads were built on a less key themes: fellowship, peaceful domestic home life, appeal to American values, and emphasis on the positive contribution of the brewing industry to all of the above.
(17.) "A Leading California Brewery Goes After the Home Market," Brewers Journal, February 1936; Liz Cohen offers a good overview of the depression era role of woman consumers in A Consumers' Republic: Tire Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (New York, 2003), p. 31-42.
(18.) United States Brewers Association, Fifty-Eighth Convention, Proceedings, p. 10; Charles P. Cooper, Should the 'Prohibition-Repeal' Plank Have Been Inserted in the Platform of the National Democratic Party? (Jacksonville, 1932); p. 3-4.
(19.) Christine Frederick, Selling Ms. Consumer (New York, 1929), p. 11; Janice Williams Rutherford, "A Foot in Each Sphere: Christine Frederick and Early Twentieth-Century Advertising" Historian 63 (2001): 67-86; See the cover of a pamphlet from the League of Women Shoppers at http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/tam/women/shoppers.jpg
(20.) Sherwood Anderson, Perhaps Women, (New York, 1931), p.42; see Barbara Melosh's Engendering Culture: Manhood and Womanhood in the New Deal Art and Theater (Washington D.C, 1991) where she discusses Sinclair Lewis's vision of an emasculated world.
(21.) Robert Lynd and Alice Hanson, "The People as Consumers," in Recent Social Trends in the United States, vol.2, ed. Presidents Research Committee on Social Trends (New York, 1933), p 866; Susan Currell, The March of Spare Time. The Problem and Promise of Leisure in the Great Depression, (Philadelphia, 2003), p. 101-110.
(22.) On refrigeration see Shelly Nickles, "Preserving Women: Refrigerator Design as a Social Process in the 1930s" Technology and Culture 43 (2002):.693-727.
(23.) Thomas C. Cochran, The Pabst Brewing Company: The History of an American Business (Westport, 1948), p. 385.
(24.) Stanley Baron, Brewed in America: A History, of Beer and Ale in the United States (Boston, 1962), p. 327.
(25.) Chicago Daily Tribune, June 14, 1937, p. I 2; Pabst Brewing Company Promotion, Hell, Yourself, Produced and directed by Castle Films. 18 min. 1919; David Fogarty, "From Saloon to Supermarket: Packaged Beer and the Reshaping of the U.S. Brewing Industry," Contemporary Drug Problems 12 (1985): 541-92.
(26.) Susan Smulyan, "Radio Advertising to Women in Twenties America: "A Latchkey to Every Home." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television [Great Britain] 1993 13(3): 299-314.
(27.) "They Smiled At Her Inexperience," Continental Can Company Ad, Colliers, March 17,1934, p.23; "Men Whom You Know," Modem Bravery, January 1935; p. 81; Ad News and Notes, New York Times June 3, 1936; The Washington Post Jan 6, 1929 p. S2; Brewery, Age, March 1935, p. 85; Brewers Journal, July 1935; p. 67, August 1935, p. 88; Brewery Age, September 1935, p. 16.
(28.) "Where There's Life," Budweiser Ad, Colliers, November 11, 1933, p. 42; "For Those With a Flair for Living," Budweiser Ad, 1953; "Where There's Life There's Budweiser," Budweiser Ad, 1933-34; "When Gentlemen Agree," Budweiser Ad, 1934; "Good Times Coming Boss," Budweiser Ad, Colliers April 28, 1934, p. 46; "It's the Refreshing Thing to Do," Coca-Cola Ad, National Geographic 1936, at http://www.adflip.com/addetails.php?adID = 11694; "With the Sparkle of Jewels," Canada Dry Ginger Ale Ad, Colliers, April 28, 1934, p. 2.
(29.) "It's a Wise Wife," Pabst Ad, 1933; "Pabst Blue Ribbon Scores Top Honors," Ad 1934; "Good Beer for Good Fellows," Pabst Ad, 1934; "A Sunday Supper Success," Pabst Ad, 1934.
(30.) "Smart People Drink Schlitz," Schlitz Ad, Colliers, February 17, 1934, p. 2; "Certainly It's Schlitz," Schlitz Ad, 1934.
(31.) "Way to a Man's Heart," Blatz Ad 1937 Life, June 21, 1937; "Behind the Eight Ball," Falstaff Ad 1937 at http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/falstaff/f30.jpg; other Falstaff ads form that year continued the motif of the couple inundated with social callers because of their beer choice with headlines like "We Had to Nail the Front Door Shut", "Friends Camped on our Doorstep" and "We Had to Padlock Our Refrigerator"; "You Can Taste the Goodness," Gerst Ad, 1937, http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/gerst/g2.jpg
(32.) "Mary Haworth Mail," Washington Post, October 20, 1940, p. S10.
(33.) Chicago Daily Tribune, April 17, 1941, p.2, The Washington Post, May 17, 1943, p. B4; Chicago Tribune, August 17, 1942, p. 22.
(34.) Los Angeles Times, November 18, 1940, p. Al.
(35.) Chicago Daily Tribune, August 1.3, 1942, p. 12; The Washington Post, April 1, 1944, p. 3; Chicago Daily Tribune, August 17, 1942, p. 22.
(36.) Warsh, "Smoke and Mirrors: Gender Representation in North America Tobacco and Alcohol Advertisements Before 1950," Histoire Socials 31 (1999): 188.
(37.) Chicago Daily Tribune, September 4, 1942, p. 20.
(38.) Maureen Honey, Greying Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II (Amherst, 1984), p. 110.
(39.) "Everyone Knows Budweiser," Budweiser Ad 1942 at http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/budweiser/bud9.jpg
(40.) Budweiser Ads featured in Roland Krebs with Percy J. Orthwein, Making Friends is Our Business: 100 Years of Anheuser-Busch (St. Louis, 1953), p. 300-350; "Beer of Tomorrow," Schliz Ad, Time, April 16, 1946.
(41.) Krebs, Making Friends is Our Business, p. 346; "From Where I Sit ... by Joe Marsh," The Cambridge Tribune, February 2, 1943, p. 5.
(42.) Victor J. Viser, "Social Identity Formation in Midpassage: American Advertising Imagery in the 1940s" Prospects 27(2002), p. 515-346; Mark Weiner, "Consumer Culture and Participatory Democracy; The Story of Coca-Cola During World War II," Food and Foodways 6 (1996): 109-129. Weiner ultimately suggests a critical paradox, that consumer goods could promote civic behavior and unity even as consumer culture undermined democratic society. Sec also; Beverage Industry 87, no. 6, June 1996, p. 16; H.W. Brands, "Coca-Cola Goes to War," American History 34 (1999): 30-36.
(43.) "Morale is a Lot of Little Things," UBIF Ad, 1942, http://www.gono.com/beermazineads/beerbottler/b13.jpg; see also: Litoff, Judy Barrett & Smith, David C. '"Will He Gret My Letter?' Popular Portrayals of Mail and Morale During World War II," Journal of Popular Culture 23: 21 -43.
(44.) Ibid, p. 21-43; "Did You Cut nut a Pumpkin for Little Sue on Halloween" UBIF Ad, 1944; "Boy Those Grilled Steaks Used to Taste Swell," UBIF Ad, 1944; "I Can See My Hammock Now Hanging in the Orchard," UBIF Ad, 1944; "Sure Could Go For One of Mom's Bean Suppers" UBIF Ad, 1944; "And Remember those Swell Picnics in the Birch Grove," UBIF Ad, 1944.
(45.) Honey, Creating Rosie tie Riveter, p. 110-130, ad quoted from p. 124.
(46.) "How American Is It ...," 1942 Ballantine Beer Ads can be viewed at: http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/ballantine/ballen8.jpg; http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/ballantine/ballen9.jpg; http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/ballantine/ballen10.jpg; http://www.gnno.com/beermagazineads/ballantine/ballen73,jpg,
(47.) See, for example, the industry's unofficial rules of advertising in The A.B.C. of Beer Advertising, Brewing Industry Foundation, 1943.
(48.) Letter from J.J. Carroll of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. to All United States Brewers, February 26, 1945, Folder 67, Box 2,1 Henry Tobias Brewers and Maltsters Union No. 6 Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Society, St. Louis.
(49.) Advertising cut women off at the pass well before they could claim too many masculine rights for themselves. Bilge Yesil explored the advertising in women's home magazines such as Woman's Home Companion, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies' Home Journal between 1941 and 1945. She shores how working women's war experiences were defined through themes that emphasized their roles as secondary, that they were working to win men's approval, and that they were to remain concerned with femininity and beauty. These themes served to uphold traditional ideals of femininity and sex roles. Images of women as independently active would be replaced by the war's end by images of domesticity and "the feminine mystique." See: Bilge Yesil, 'Who Said This Is A Man's War?' Propaganda, Advertising Discourse And The Representation of War Worker Women During The Second World War." Media History 10 (2004): 103-117; see also: Bland, M. Susan, "Henrietta the Homemaker, and 'Rosie the Riveter': Images of Women in Advertising in Maclean's Magazine, 1939-50," Atlantis 8 (1983): 61-86.
(50.) McGahan "The Emergence of the National Brewing Oligopoly: Competition in the American Marker, 1933-1958," The Business History Review 65 (1991): 229-284.
(51.) Reprint of "These Days" in New York Sun, February 5, 1948, Folder 71, Box 2, in Henry Tobias Brewers and Maltsters Union No. 6 Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Society, St. Louis; Prohibition Patty Platform 1948, Folder 71, Box.2, in Henry Tobias Brewers and Maltsters Union No. 6 Papers. Western Historical Manuscript Society, St. Louis.
(52.) Letter from Walker Pierce to Joe Hauser, April 1, 1947, Folder 70, Box 2, in Henry Tobias Brewers and Maltsters Union No. 6 Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Society, St. Louis.
(53.)Letter from U.S. Brewers Foundation Inc., May 28, 1948, Folder 71, Box 2, in Henry Tobias Brewers and Maltsters Union No. 6 Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Society, St. Louis; United States Brewers Foundation, 74th Annual Meeting, Report to Members, p. 71.
(54.) Stuart Ewen, All Consuming Images; The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture (New York, 1988), p. 70-71.
(55.) "Beer Belongs ... Enjoy It," Ad, Life, May 10, 1948 is one example of many in the long running series entitled "Home Life in America."
(56.) "Uncle from the West," USBA Ad, 1946; "Beer and BBQ on the Terrace." USBA Ad, May 1951; "An Evening of Bowling," USBA Ad, 1949, http://www.gono.com/beermagazineads/beerbottler/b26.jpg
(57.) Genevieve Knupfer, Robin Room, "Age, Sex, and Social Class as Factors in Amount of Drinking in a Metropolitan Community," Social Problems 12 (1964): 224-240.
(58.) Ibid, P. 222-23.
(59.) Rosenberg, Emily S. "Consuming Women: Images of Americanization in the 'American Century,' Diplomatic History 23 (1999): 479-497.
(60.) The Kitchen Debate, 1959 at http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/pdoes/nixon_kitchen.pdf
(61.) Vance Packard, The 'status seekers: An Exploration of Class Behavior in America and the Hidden Barriers and the Hidden Barriers that Affect You, Your Community, Your Future (1959), p. 1-10; Knupfer, "Age, Sex and Social Class," p.252-24 The author claims that more money and better socioeconomic status equals mote drinking either because they can afford the pleasure or because they recognize it as a form of "conspicuous consumption" that attests to prosperity.
(62.) Los Angeles Times, Sep 3, 1959, p. D6; New York Times Studio, Feb 23, 1951, p. 30; "Anne's Trading Post: Hostess Shares Party Tips", The Washington Post and Times Herald, Mar 4, 1955, p. 37.
(63.) New York Times Dec 14, 1954, p. 52; "Home Beer Drinking Climbing Steadily," New York Times, Jan 3, 1956, p. 92; Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1950, p. 11. Four years earlier, in 1950, a survey discovered that six of every ten adults were drinking. 14% said it may have led to problems.
(64.) "News of Food," New York Times, Jan 28, 1950, p. 16.
(65.) George Dixon, "Washington Scene," The Washington Post and Times Herald, April 2, 1959, p, A2 3.
(66.) Lincoln Diamant, Tension's Classic Commercials: The Golden Years 1948,1958 (New York, 1971), p. 77.
(67.) Beverage Industry 87, no. 6 (June 1996), p. 16.
(68.) Krebs, Making Friends is Our Business, p. 377.
(69.) As a general rule, per capita beer consumption in the years after repeal was relatively consistent, with a noticeable upswing in the years just after World War II and again in the early 1970s. Data relating to beer consumption in this period can be accessed on the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/Resources/DatabaseResources/QuickFacts/AlcoholSales/consum01.html
(70.) "TV Changes Habits On Beer Drinking," New York Times, May 9, 1950, p. 43; "Tavern Beer Sales Seen Threatened," New York Times, Oct 28, 1952, p. 46; See the history of the six-pack in "Beer Celebrates a 30th Anniversary," Liquor Store Magazine, March 1963, p. 24; Isenstadt, Sandy. "Visions of Plenty: Refrigerators In America Around 1950," Journal of Design History 11 (1998): 311-321.
(71.) See especially: U.S Congress, Liquor Advertising: Hearings Before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 81st Cong., 2 Sess. 1950, 1954, 1956 and U.S Congress, Liquor Advertising Over Radio end Television: Hearing Before (ire Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 82st Cong., 2 Sess, 1952; Chicago Dairy Tribune, June 5, 1952, p. B8.
(72.) Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1957, p. 37; "Stranger 'Springs' Siren Who Lured 3 Men With Beer," The Washington Post, Jan 21, 1951 p. M19; "Husband Killed in Row Over Beer; Wife Held," Los Angeles Times Mar 17, 1952, p. 4; "A Beer Buying Siren 'Kidnaps' 3 Guzzling Dads," Chicago Daily Tribune, Jan 14, 1951, p. 21.
(73.) Los Angeles Times, Apr I 5, 1953, p. 24.
(74.) United States Brewers Foundation, As We Like. It. Produced and directed by the Handy Jam Organization, 10 min. 1952.
(75.) United States Brewers Foundation, Seventieth Annual Meeting, 1946, Proceedings, p. 21.
(76.) William H. Boyenton, "Enter the Ladies - 86 Proof: A Study in Advertising Ethics," Journalism Quarterly 44 (1967): 445-450.
(77.) A.M. McGahan, "The Emergence of the National Brewing Oligopoly: Competition in the American Market 1933-1958," The Business History Review 65 (1991): 229-284.
(78.) "Valley Forge Girl," Modern Brewery Age (April 1953).
(79.) New York Times, December 14, 1956, p. 52; New York Times, April 11,1961, p. 9; New York Times, April 10, 1960, p. F10.
(80.) See especially the commentary by Boyenton, Enter the Ladies, p. 451.
By Nathan Michael Corzine
It happens that millions of Americans attach a special value to their right to enjoy a refreshing glass of beer ... in the company of good friends ... with wholesome American food ... as a beverage of moderation alter a hard days work. A small thing surely--not of critical importance to any of us. And yet, morale is a lot of little things like this. Little things that help to lift the spirits, keep up the courage. And, after all, aren't they among the things we fight for? (43)
In this home-loving land of ours ... in this America of kindliness, of friendship, of good humored tolerance ... perhaps no beverages are more "at home" on more occasions than good American beer and ale. For beer is the kind of beverage Americans like. It belongs--CO pleasant living, to good fellowship, to sensible moderation. And our right to enjoy it, this too belongs--to our own American heritage of personal freedom. (56)
"Ah home, sweet home, the little nest, where alter work a man can rest, or take a peaceful stroll outdoors, doing little simple chores."
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