Monday, June 10, 2013

Beer Ads in Oshkosh No. 12: Your Pappy's White Cap

Today’s exceedingly drab looking beer ad comes to us from the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of June 13, 1956. It's a piece of a larger ad for the old Walter’s Food Towne, which used to be on New York Ave. And that’s not a bad price for a sixer of regional beer in those days. But that’s not the point of this. There’s a little story entwined around this one that may be of interest to geeks such as us. Here goes: Thursday last, I put up a shout out about Hinterland’s White Cap IPA, a recent arrival to the beer shelves here. Today, I thought I'd kill a little of your time by pointing out that this isn’t the first time a brew named White Cap has made its way to the beer depots of Oshkosh. There was a White Cap Beer sold here in the 1950s that was quite unlike the one we’re getting today. The old White Cap was a light-bodied, mild lager with nothing close to the hop bite of the current, ale model. The beer was brewed from 1939-1963 by the Two Rivers Beverage Company. In the Post-WWII period, White Cap was the brewery's flagship beer and the hometown favorite of Two Rivers, WI. Until everything went to hell.

In 1963, as sales lagged in the face of enormous competition from national and regional brewers alike, White Cap Beer was discontinued. Two Rivers Beverage Co. replaced White Cap with a new beer named Leibrau, a brau named in honor of the brewery’s owners; brothers George and Harold Liebich. It wasn’t enough to save them. In 1966, Two Rivers Beverage Co. closed up shop. That wasn’t the end of either White Cap or Leibrau, though. After the shuttering of the Two Rivers brewery, the Oshkosh Brewing Company acquired the label rights to Liebrau and began producing the beer here in Oshkosh. When OBC closed in 1971, Leibrau went into hiatus. But in 2007, both White Cap and Liebrau made a return when the Courthouse Pub in Manitowoc began brewing their versions of the original beers based upon recipes supplied by the Liebich family. So there you have it, the  backstory of White Cap. And if and when you drink a new White Cap, take a second to ponder what all this means. Then tell me, because I haven’t a clue.
The Liebich Bros. Introduce Liebrau
Label for Liebrau Brewed in Oshkosh

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