Pre-Pro: Before 1919
Advertising before Prohibition (Pre-Pro) was limited to saloon signs, billboard signs and print. Radio wasn't widely used until the 1920's and television was first used in the Cincinnati market in 1948. It can be difficult to find advertising for many brewers before Prohibition. However, several examples have been found for the Bavarian Brewery, as described below.
The ads Bavarian used to promote its beers in newspapers before Prohibition are challenging to find. Many newspapers in the late 1800's and early 1900's were not archived. Those that were, are often not converted to digital format and are unavailable online. Those that have been found include those in the Williams Directory, various newspapers (both English and German) and a theater program. They provide an indication of the type of print advertising Bavarian conducted before 1919. There are a great deal more print ads available after Prohibition, as presented in the other ad periods.
The Williams Directory provided comprehensive listings of both residences and businesses for both Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Often businesses would take out an ad that would appear in this directory. These ads help show the progression of the Bavarian Brewery under different owners until it became the Bavarian Brewing Co. in 1889.
1882-3. This ad is for the Bavarian Brewery listing only John Meyer as Proprietor. Besides being a brewer of Lager Beer, the ad also mentions the firm is a maltster and dealer in hops. William Riedlin actually made an investment in Bavarian Brewery in 1882. However, it was probably after the ad was placed.
1884-5. The proprietors of the Bavarian Brewery were officially noted as Meyer & Riedlin in this year. They offered a "Celebrated Meyer & Riedlin Lager." (Please see Pre-Prohibition Signs and the Wm Riedlin Years.) This Meyer & Riedlin partnership lasted unil 1889, when Wm. Riedlin established the Bavarian Brewing Co. and acquired controlling interest.
1904-5. The brewer is no longer referred to as Bavarian Brewery, but as the Bavarian Brewing. Co. (beginning in 1889). This ad refers to Genuine Bairisch Beer and that the brewery also offered Ale, Porter and ice. Additionally, it lists the officers of the brewery.
1908-9. The officers of the brewery list W. Riedlin, Jr., as Vice-Pres., instead of Anton Ruh, as in the previous ad above. However, Anton Ruh remained as the brewmaster. Apparently, the reference to the brewery's beer also changed from Bairisch Beer to Standard Bavarian Beer. At this time, Riedlin's Select Beer was also offered.
There were various newspapers used by Bavarian for ads. Some examples of these are displayed below.
Catholic Telegraph: A large number of residents in Covington and Cincinnati were Catholic and newspaper that provided information to this population. A couple of ads in this newspaper below include a New Years Greeting in 1905 and an ad for Riedlin's Seclet Beer in 1908. A common phrase that was used for both Bavarian and Riedlin's Select Beers was "The Family Beer."
Tagliches Cincinnatier Volksblatt (A German paper), 1917.
Cincinnati and Covington were settled by many first and second generation Germans, many of whom still frequently spoke German and read local papers printed in German. Consequently, the local brewers oftened advertised in such publications. A couple of ads for Bavarian in the Tagliches Cincinnatier Volksblatt are shown on the right. Undoubtedly such ads were also placed in such papers much earlier, in the late 1800's. However, it appears such publication were not archieved well and earlier ads in German papers are difficult to obtain. These print advertisements shown were published just a couple years before Prohibition. After WWI, the sentiment of Americans towards Germans changed to animosity. It caused some some Germans to change their names that were more English in origin. Some streets and other places with German names were also changed. This sentitment, along with the assimilaton of Germans into the American culture, caused a decline in the local Cincinnati area papers printed in German.
The first ad on the above was a Happy New Year greeting in 1916. The ad under it in 1917 displays a Bavarian ad on the bottom with a Christian Moerlein ad on top for its Barbarossa Beer. In the Moerlein ad the bottle displayed is embossed with the name of the brewer besides having labels. Embossed bottles were actually made for and owned by individual brewers. They were usually returned to that brewer so that the bottle could be washed and reused. In order to recirculate their bottles, brewers would sometimes offer a discount on their beer when the bottles were returned. Please see the price list that indicates this below, as well as its reverse side that discusses the benefits of consuming Pure Beer.
PROMOTIONAL PAMPHLETS / PRICE LISTS
The two sided item below explains the virtues of "Pure and Good Beer" such as Riedlin's Select and Bavarian Beers on one side, and a price list on the other side. Pre-Prohibition there were few government limitations on the claims brewers could make about their beers. They often used terms such as nutritious, wholesome and healthy and that it would impart health and strength. In part, for brewers to make such claims, it was not only to make their beer more desirable to purchase, it may also have been a way to oppose the claims that temperance groups were making about the evils of alcoholic beverages. Regardless, certain assertions brewers made about their products before Prohibition became different afterwards.
As shown, the price list above encourages customers to return their bottles for a discount in buying their next purchase of beer from the same brewer, and also to purchase the beer directly from the brewery in quantities of four dozen bottles. Since the crates each contained 12 bottles, this would mean the pricing was apparently for a quantity of four crates, or 48 bottles. (Please see Bottles and Cases to view what this would look like at that time.) Cars were not readily available at that time either. So, it would have probably been necessary to pick up these bottles by wagon or carriage. Therefore, it wouldn't be easy to pick up and return four dozen bottles to a home or business. This is why brewers like Bavarian would provide free home delivery near their breweries.
Brewers would sometimes advertise on billboards. This was especially common around ballparks, where beer was served and those attending the games were inclined to have a beer or two. Shown is a rendering of an advertisement for Bavarian Beer. It was on a building adjacent to the Riverbreeze stadium in Covington, KY, where the Covington Blue Sox played in 1913. This rendering is from part of a Roebling Mural, located on the Ohio riverfront in Covington, KY.