Monday, July 22, 2013

Beer Ads in Oshkosh No. 14: Chief Oshkosh Red Lager, America’s Only All Malt Beer... Packaged In a Can

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Here’s an ad that’s probably getting more attention now than it did when it first appeared in On Premise Magazine in January 1992. This was one of the early ads for Chief Oshkosh Red Lager, which in 1991 became the first American craft beer to be sold in cans. That was no easy sell in those days. At the time, drinkers of microbrew weren’t exactly smitten with the idea of receiving their beloved wrapped in aluminum. Canned beer was considered low-brow; the domain of fizzy macro-swill. That’s changed, of course. Now craft beer in cans is all the rage among the aficionados.

The copy for the ad you see here was penned by Jeff Fulbright, the owner/operator/brewer for Mid-Coast Brewing of Oshkosh. This piece is now getting a fresh look thanks, in part, to Tom Acitelli whose cover story in the current issue of All About Beer Magazine tells the story of American craft beer in cans. Central to that history is Chief Oshkosh Red Lager and this ad. What I’ve always found most interesting about it is how Fulbright’s message from the early 1990s has been adopted – almost verbatim – by today’s canning craft brewers. Fulbright was certainly onto something. Unfortunately, he was too far ahead of his time to profit from it.

Hey, at least some people were into Fulbright’s concept. In 1992, the Beer Can Collectors of America named the Chief Oshkosh Red Lager can their beer can of the year. Check out this swank trophy they awarded him.

If you want the full story on Chief Oshkosh Red Lager, go HERE.

And if you’d like to learn more about the history of America’s craft beer revolution, check out Tom Acitelli’s fantastic new book, The Audacity of Hops.

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