Beers That Fell Flat

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In 1990, dry beers were produced by three different top American brewers.  These brewers fell in love with the idea because dry beers supposedly offered a “cleaner finish,” whatever that meant.  After spending over $40 million advertising such brands as Coors Dry, Bud Dry and Michelob Dry, this category of beers only captured the hearts of about two percent of all beer consumers.

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In the mid 1980’s, Golden Beverages of Irvine, California, marketed Nude Beer.  Its bottles featured photos of women whose bikini tops could be scratched off.  What was underneath was certainly impressive.   The beer never really get a lot of attention until police in Colorado declared that the bottles were obscene and removed them from the shelves.  When word got out, sales temporarily spiked.  Then in 1986, sales perked up again when the National Organization of Women circulated a petition calling for a nationwide ban of Nude Beer sales.  However, Nude Beer never caught on, and was soon edged out of the market.  The company also produced Nude Nuts and Nude Cigarettes.

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The premise behind Harley Davidson Beer was was simply this.  What man who would wear black t-shirts and ride Harley motorcycles and drink a light beer?  Although it may have been a welcome blast of rebellion against wimpy beers and spritzers, this full bodied brew, which debuted in 1988, never quite caught on.

Hop’n Gator Beer was put on the market by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1969.  It was developed by Dr. Robert Cade who also invented Gatorade.  Hop’n Gator Beer was a mixture of beer and Gatorade with about 25% more alcohol content than standard beers.  It may be true that a lot of jocks drink Gatorade and a lot of fans drink beer, but this combination fell on its face.

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Billy Carter certainly holds the title of “Most Embarrassing First Brother.”  While his brother, Jimmy Carter, was president he kept the press busy with his redneck musings, Libyan business deals and even got in trouble for relieving himself on a wall at the Atlanta airport.  Even so, he still found plenty of time to devote to his first passion – beer.

Starting in 1977 he marketed “Billy Beer,” which was first produced by the Falls city Brewing Company of Louisville, Kentucky.  At the top of the label, it proudly proclaimed that it was “Brewed expressly for and with the personal approval of one of America’s Great Beer Drinkers – Billy Carter.”  After he declared his alcoholism, Billy Carter went to rehab and the beer label went belly up.

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The beer market boasted several low calorie beers in the 1960’s.  But the biggest flop of them all was Gablinger’s Beer, which is sometimes referred to as the “Edsel of Beers.”  Rheingold’s, the brewery which produced the beer, claimed that it was made from the same ingredients as regular beer, but also included a mysterious carbohydrate-destroying enzyme.  Despite a heavy ad campaign, Gablinger’s never achieved popularity.  Marketers claim that beer drinkers simply didn’t respond to the idea of a less filling beer that would reduce the waistline.  When later successful light beers made the scene, advertisers were mindful to imply that light beers were less filling for their customers which allowed them to consume more beer.

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