Digest>Archives> March 2003

Advertising from the Past

By Timothy Harrison

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Old advertising, especially advertising that uses a lighthouse, makes for great collectibles and also gives an insight into our past and can be used as a great history teaching tool. At one time National Bohemian Beer used a lighthouse for their store displays to help sell their product.

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Founded in 1872, National Brewing became part of Maryland Brewing, a group of 16 different breweries. In 1901, it became Gottleib-Bauernscmidt-Straus Brewing and closed its doors during Prohibition. After Prohibition, National Brewing went back into business using the one eyed Mr. Bob as it emblem. After purchasing the Altes Brewing Co and then American Brewing Co from Anheuser Busch, the company introduced Colt 45 Malt Liquor in the early 1960’s. These were big years for the company, which then also owned the NFL Colts football team and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

The company ran into financial troubles in the early 1970’s and merged with another ailing brewery. The merger did not save the company and the use of a lighthouse was not enough to save the firm, and Carling-National was sold to G. Heinemann Brewing Co. Interestingly, Heileman was sold in 1996 to Strohs Brewing of Michigan.

At last year’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, noted lighthouse author Ray Jones, some others and myself enjoyed a nice meal at a small restaurant in Alpena, Michigan. What did we order with our dinner? You guessed it, Strohs Beer. So, in effect, the lighthouse advertising worked, only it was over 30 years later.

This story appeared in the March 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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