Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beer Ads in Oshkosh No. 3: Bah! Humbug! From the Brewers of Oshkosh

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I have loads of holiday-season ads for beer in Oshkosh and I’m going to try and get some of them posted here in the next few days. This one goes out to all the Scrooges. It’s a bitchy note that appeared in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern just before Christmas, 1904. What it boils down to is the brewing community here telling its customers to go to hell. Starting January 1, 1905, they were tacking on a returnable surcharge of 50¢ for delivery of pony kegs. Better yet, starting next year they had “decided to discontinue the distribution of beer or any other articles as Christmas present.” Bah! Humbug! This collective “piss-off” was aimed directly at Oshkosh’s saloonkeepers who were having a fine time playing the breweries against one another for the best deal on beer.

And who are these irritated people? Fenn & Nachtrab, Fred Neumueller, John Sitter, and Robert Ihbe were all independent bottlers of beer in Oshkosh. The Oshkosh Brewing Company and Rahr Brewing were, of course, the two production breweries located here in 1904. Emil Thom was an agent for Schlitz. Pabst and Miller need no introduction. The inclusion of these last three is what really makes this ad interesting. It’s a rare example of the Milwaukee brewers and Oshkosh brewers working in concert. Sworn enemies united in their disdain for their customers. How’s that for a bit of the old Christmas spirit?

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