Fortune magazine’s Beth Kowitt surveyed the top 99 oldest beers in the U.S., according to manufacturer and year of establishment. They turned the list into a handy-dandy interactive list. While many great old brands that one thought might have disappeared are still around (Piels, Hamm, Pearl, Shiner Bock, Tuborg), others have gone away.
Some of the below brands had second lives as discount brews; others just disappeared. Some appear that they might have some potential to be revived, as they are still known by consumers. If any BrandlandUSA readers can help us with other missing beer brands, it would be a big help.
- Gettelman, founded 1854
- National Premium, 1863. This brand had a life as a discount beer. Natty Bo, they used to call it.
- Goebel, 1873, the 22 beer. It had a cult following with a mispronounced name that was meant to make it sound fancy. Folks called it “Tasty Jhoe-Bell.” Really, it didn’t matter that it was tasty ’cause it was cheap!
- Walter’s, 1869. This beer company, based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was started by Johanes (John) Walter in Spencier, Wisconsin.
- Wiedemann, 1890
- Meister Brau, 1891
- Falstaff, 1896. Liked this one. It had a mass following.
- Trommer’s, 1896.
- Red, White and Blue, 1899. Had a life as a discount beer too.
- Weber, 1903
- Fox Head 400, 1936
- Knickerbocker Dark Beer, 1951. This has some old New York nostalgia, and would be a perfect revival candidate, or at least a good commemorative brew for a Saks Fifth Avenue or Macy’s promotion. Ad courtesy website Skelzie.
- Billy Beer, 1977. Would rather not drink this. One brand we don’t want back as it reminds us of Jimmy Carter’s presidency.
- Generic Beer, 1977. Words are not enough.
Other BrandlandUSA posts on old beer and beer branding: