Here’s something New York that’s been lost: Knickerbocker Beer.
Made by the Ruppert Brewery, Knickerbocker was the official beer of the New York Giants, a bit ironic given that Jacob Ruppert, a.k.a. “The Colonel,” was the owner of the New York Yankees during the heyday of Ruth and Gehrig. The brewery was located at 92nd and Second, but it closed in the late 1960s. The Knickerbocker brand was acquired by another brewery, but discontinued during the 1970s. (The ad at left appeared in 1955.)
Our friend Betsy Bradley will be talking about Knickerbocker beer next Tuesday night, September 7, at Brooklyn’s “Adult Education: A Useless Lecture Series.” The theme for the night is “Beer Matters,” and the panel takes place at
Union Hall in Park Slope (702 Union Street at 5th Ave). The doors open at 7:30 p.m., the panel begins at 8:00 p.m. and there’s a five-dollar cover charge.
Betsy’s talk is called “Knickerbocker: Nativism, Prohibition, and the Rise of New York’s Namesake Beer.” Her co-panelists are Brendan I. Koerner (“The Madonna of Malternatives: Zima and the Challenges of Brand Reinvention”), Erica Shea and Stephen Valand (“Secrets of Brewing In the Modern New York Apartment”), and Bill Wander (“The Truth about McSorley’s: Reenvisioning Joseph Mitchell’s
“Wonderful Saloon”). Click here for more detailed descriptions.
The ad below appeared in a 1957 New York Giants program. You can find some more great baseball-related beer ads here (including one for Rheingold, official beer of the New York Mets when I first started following them, another lost New York beverage.)
Is Rheingold really defunct (again)? They enjoyed a renewed popularity among hipsters in the mid 2000s — though they seem to have been beaten out by PBR in the laughable long run. The last time I remember having one was at Southpaw in Park Slope for some show or other a couple years ago.
BTW: One of Rheingold’s ads back in the day was done by the late great Les Paul.
Rheingold shut down its operations in 1976, because it could no longer compete with national brands.
In 1998, it was revived by a relative of the Rheingold family, Terry Liebmann, and his partner, Mike Mitaro, and targeted precisely toward the hipster market.
But I believe that Rheingold was bought four years ago By Drinks America — of Wilton, CONNECTICUT — with the idea of making it a national brand again.
Not sure how that’s turned out, but I think it means that Rheingold, if it still exists, ain’t a New York beer no more.
When I was 4 years old, I had the Knickerboker radio commercial memorized and would sing it all the time. I don’t have a clue who actually sang it, but I would really like to know. She had a pwerful, clear voice and I loved the way she belted it out at the end. Does anyone know who she is?