Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beer Mountie

In case you missed it in the comments, we were able to determine the identity of that big, funky horse on the wooden plank: he was a "backbar sign" for the Burger Brewing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve found a couple of links, including this one:

I haven’t had time to track down a copy of the book this piece is in, so I can’t give you any more details like the date of manufacture, or the manufacturer. Hartland did a number of advertising pieces for the beer and liquor trade, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something to do with it.

Breyer did briefly make a brief foray into the beer and liquor trade, as well - with the Drewry’s Mountie.

The Drewry’s Mountie is distinguishable from the regular run piece by only one feature: small decals of the Drewry’s logo on the back corners of the horse’s saddle blanket. The logo consists of, rather redundantly, a Mountie and his horse. (That logo was eventually replaced with one featuring a large capital D, when the Canadian Government let it be known that they didn’t want the RCMP associated with a cheap, American-brewed beer. As far as I know, all of the Mountie figurines feature the Mountie and Horse logo.)

Drewery’s originated in Canada (thus explaining the original logo), but then moved production stateside to South Bend, Indiana. It was popular in the Midwest - Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, mostly - but like most regional beer brands, was bought out by a series of increasingly bigger breweries, and eventually ceased to be.

The exact nature of this piece is unknown. Was it an advertising or backbar sign, a promotional gift with purchase, a little something for company employees? When was it made? Was it a commissioned piece, or did the beer company buy up batches and affix the decals themselves?

I know nothing. This not-knowing bothers me more than it usually does in this case because there’s some family history tied to it.

My thrifty Grandmother’s second husband, Art Kuhl, worked for Drewry’s in the 1950s as a delivery driver. During the summer, Dad sometimes accompanied him on some of his deliveries. Somewhere in the family archives - I don’t know where, so you’ll just have to take my word for it - there’s a picture of Grandma leaning provocatively against the beer truck, a bottle of Drewry’s (presumably) in hand.

The Breyer Horse and Rider Sets have always been pretty high on my want list; it should go without saying that the Drewery’s Mountie occupies the top spot on that list.

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