Thursday, September 20, 2018

Episode 12: Old Milwaukee with Eli Wentz

I. Introduction

This is State Fair beer. 
First brewed in 1849 by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, today’s beer, remained with Schlitz until 1982 when it was acquired by Stroh Brewing of Detroit, who in turn managed it until 2000 when it was acquired by that little giant of breweries, Pabst.  Today representing itself with World War II-style pin-up girls on their cans, this beer is perhaps best known for being shilled by the fiction, but hormone-provoking, Swedish bikini team.  This is a beer that Will Ferrell loves so much he filmed free, unscripted ads for them focused on the Quad-Cities region of Iowa and Illinois (Davenport, Betterdorf, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline - don’t worry, we had to look it up too – and why are there five cities?).  This is the beer that Consumer Reports described as the best mass-marketed beer based on the evaluation by 17 beer scholars (including several with PhDs in fermentation science) from a slate of 69 beers.

Today's theme is Memphis Slim's 1961 "I Just Landed in Your Town."

II. Our Guest, The Old Man in Glade Spring, Cap'n Eli Wentz

Eli Hemmingwentz.
III. Rubric

BeerAdvocate: 2.35 of 5

RateBeer: 1.39 of 5

Untappd: 2.35 of 5

ABV: 4.6%

Ingredients: Six-row malted barley, a specially-formulated corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup), two complementary types of hops, filtered water, and cultured yeast.

Cost: $ - - - if we could type half a dollar sign we would - costs us only about $7.50 for a 12-pack at the local drug store.

IV. Our Reviews and Talking Points

Appearance: Gold, translucent, transparent. Well-carbonated (soda-esque levels). Head rapidly recedes.

Aroma: Very light, described by Dr. Wentz as the smell of a fraternity house floor the morning after a party.

Flavor: Simple lager, unassuming and nothing offensive, "not a hard-hitter," - Clayman.

Mouthfeel: Nothing of note.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: Will Ferrell ads are on point, the retro-style pin-ups are not over-whelming, sort of nostalgic.  The Swedish Bikini Team appealed to us as hormone-driven teens, and the Monty Python-esque stuff is decent for a chuckle, but it is still pretty sex-sells heavy. 

Overall: Eli gave Old Milwaukee a rating of 3 of 5, Clayman a rating of 2.8 of 5, and Eric a 2.75 of 5 - our average score? 2.85 of 5. 

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grown nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VI. Plugs

Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia 

Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia

VII. Selected Reading and Viewing

Rusty Blazenhoff.  January 20, 2012. "Will Ferrell Creates Unscripted Old Milwaukee Beer Ads for Free in Various Midwest Cities." Laughing Squid

Marc Fisher.  May 25, 1996.  "Ale Freezes Over: Old Milwaukee Leads the Pack in Taste Test." The Washington Post. 

Dave Infante.  August 12, 2014.  "Remembering the Swedish Bikini Team: Beer Advertising's Forgotten First Ladies." Thrillist. 

Tim Nudd. March 20, 2012.  "Will Ferrell or Old Milwaukee: I Just Love a Good, Crappy Beer."  Adweek. 

Chris Schonberger.  July 4, 2013.  "America's Best Cheap Beers, Ranked."  First We Feast.

Ronald Theriot.  February 12, 2011. "Old Milwaukee."  Louisiana Beer Reviews.  On YouTube.

VIII. Selected Advertisements

c. 1975


c. 1980

c. 1980

c. 1987

c. 1991 The Swedish Bikini Team
[For some reason we're having trouble embedding these, so we're doing simple links: 1 and 2]

c. 2012

c. 2012

c. 2012

c. 2012

c. 2012

c. 2013

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