By Xeni Jardin at 12:50 pm Sun, Apr 29, 2012
Image Link. From the excellent Flickr collection of MewDeep (lots of '60s-'70s ad scans), via BB Flickr Pool.
When I want something to turn me into a morose clown, I always reach for a Schlitz, the beer that takes 1,174 careful brewing steps. The people at Schlitz take all those careful steps – to make sure you won’t be able to take any!
This is for you older folk: Was Schlitz ever any good? I suspect it might have been when it was local, but that has to be many a decade ago…..I got the shock of my life when visiting the opening of a local brewery (eh, free beer, ya know?) and tasting their new product which they said was a Pilsner. I was saddened at first. ‘Nother damned ‘Merican fizzy malt shit. Then I tasted it and it was incredibly good. They calmly informed me that THAT was what a Pils was supposed to taste like. Live Oak Brewing. Still probably very local, but well worth the effort to get some. Everything they brew is awesome.
A long time ago. It really tanked in the early 70’s when the company started aggressively pursuing cost cutting measures, substituting cheap malt extracts for traditional ingredients, switching to a high temperature fermentation process, and experimenting with a continuous fermentation technology whose main effect was to bleach out all the flavor that was left from the other changes, produce a product that spoiled much more easily, and, as I recall from the last time I choked some down around 1976, gave it a distinct oily mouth feel. Along the way, they managed to actually lose the original formula. That one that’s been popping up in stores lately was reconstructed from interviews with retired workers. I’ve been tempted to try it but my memories of that last glass linger. At its best, Schlitz was a serviceable, lightly hopped lager but nothing to write home about. Good for sitting on the beach or in front of the TV. It hasn’t been a local beer since the 19th century so no one remembers that.
Except sad beer clown maybe.
Somewhat accurate branding. I once drank that beer and now have a mortal fear of clowns.
I wish I could hold a glass bottle like that.
One of the all-time great beer lines. Right up there with Schaefer’s “The one beer to have when you’re having more than one.”
“When all you have left is Schlitz, you’re out of beer.”
I was hoping someone would link to that.
I’m very curious as to what the 1174 steps are. Did someone actually try to enumerate them or was the number pulled straight out of the adman’s posterior?
I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. I hate clowns. But I like Schlitz. ***BOOOOOM!!!***
I do believe clowns are coming to drown you in a kiddie pool full of Schlitz.
This ad is definitely from the malaise period of Schlitz… which led to it’s downfall. The 60’s recipe reboot is great, as originally advertised “Just the kiss of the hopps”, which ends up being alot more hoppy and less malty than pretty much all of the commercial lagers out there.
I was in NYC with my brother last weekend and we had become quite sloshed at Duff’s (voted best heavy metal dive bar?). Around 4am a very drunk “sad clown” came in, and we bought him a beer. “Turn that frown upside down” my brother said. He staggered over to us, cheers’d us with his glass, and said, “I’m not a clown. I’m a man. Dressed as a clown.” We all bowed our heads, and reflected on the truth of that statement.
Step 1. Place 3 oz barley malt in mash tun.
Step 2. Place 3 oz barley malt in mash tun.
Not being American, I always thought “Schlitz” was a brand made up by Mad Magazine to sound revoltingly onomatopoeic.
The comments here are very funny. I think the ad is great but was also wondering about each of the steps. Since there are so many, it’s no wonder they can’t remember the original formula.
If they bring back the real recipe, it is worth looking for. Who is bottling it now? Schlitz brewery went belly up long ago.
And if you run out of Schlitz, you turn into Binky:
So the ad basically says “Schlitz is the last beer you would reach for in the fridge.”
Schlitz has supposedly recreated their 1960s formula; I vividly recall how their 1980s brew was flat-out nauseating.
1,174 steps? That’s like going through a 12 step program 97 times with one step left to go.
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