Will the real Jenny Girl please stand up?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beertunes, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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  2. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (550) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
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    Shame on me for not knowing that was part of the Genesee campaign although I have not seen one of those probably since I lived in upstate New York in the late 80s.

    Interesting how much the art/style looks like the current Lagunitas campaign.
     
  3. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,006) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Was Genesee pre-retro?
     
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Hey, I've got (had?) one of those "Jenny" portrait keychain tags!

    Genesee wasn't around NJ when I was growing up so I only became aware of that ad campaign after the fact. I read somewhere, in a 1970s era article, that the brewery always made a big deal of the fact that "Genny" was the nickname of the beer while "Jenny" was the female "mascot". (EDIT- found it, below left). Wouldn't want the he-men who drank their beer thinking it had a girl's name, after all. :grin:

    [​IMG]

    The brewery, even as they stress they have no interest in reviving "Jenny" seems to play up the "Pin Up" aspect of some of the old ads, but in a lot of the early images, she was pretty "schoolmarm-ish" in that Lois Lane/virginal way... in fact, has anyone ever seen the two together? :thinking_face:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    Going back to the late 70s-early80s, I had some friends that worked at (the then Wehle family owned) Genesee Brewery. At the time, F.X.Matt (Utica Club) had a thing called "beer balls". Probably 4-5 gallon plastic, ball shaped mini keg, that came with a specific tap. We, as the marketing geniuses we were, wondered why Genesee didn't put out a competing product: Hey guys, have a ball with Jenny!

    Who wouldn't prefer to ball Genny as opposed to Matt?

    FWIW, Genesee was a good employer in Rochester then. Even the lowliest employee could have a sit-down with Mr. Wehle, the company had very loyal employees.
     
    #5 beertunes, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  6. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (434) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    [​IMG]
    They did. Genesse's & Matt's beer balls were identical.

    Genny beer balls held 5 gallons of beer and were the preferred brand around here. They were pressurized with a manual pump/spigot combo inserted through the seal of the ball. A few pumps and you had "draft" beer. The balls were single use, but the taps were reusable. Beer balls were a staple up here and almost every outdoor party had a beer ball sitting in a tub of ice.

    NYS had 5¢ deposit on bottles/cans and a $10 deposit on kegs. Beer balls fell under the definition of "keg" due to being pressurized.
    In the early 2000's there was a political outcry "do something" about underage drinking with a focus put on high school and college keg parties.

    Resulting in:
    "Since becoming law in 2003, the legislation has required retailers to affix tags to each keg sold that identify the purchaser’s name, address and driver’s license number. Initially, the law also increased the standard $10 deposit on each keg sold to a state-mandated $75 — a sum forfeited to the state if a barrel wasn’t returned within 30 days.

    Those buyers returning a keg without the necessary (paper tie-on) tag also forfeited the deposit."

    Although the law was amended to allow 90 days to return the keg, and finally expired completely in 2011, the damage had been done. The $75 deposit killed the beer ball and almost ended private keg sales in NY.

    The upside is that brewers introduced the 30 pack in response. The same amount of beer, but only $1.50 deposit.
     
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, F. X. Matt, then still called the West End Brewing Co., was the first to use the beer balls in 1977 (so years before NYS's deposit law). They were manufactured by a company called Johnson Enterprises (Rockford, IL), which called them "Beer Spheres" - a cooler name, but no other brewer seemed to use it - go figure. Originally Matt put Utica Club Beer in them, and later switched to their flagship at the time, Matt's Premium. Spoetzl and Hudepohl was using them by the early 80s.
    [​IMG]
    (Eventually AB and Coors - maybe others? - were using them by the 1990s IIRC - AB only dropped them in the early 2000s or so?).

    :thinking_face: Maybe two 30's = a beer ball (but then so would 2 standard 2.25 gallon cases of 24 x 12).

    30 X 12 oz. = 360 oz./ 2.8 gallons
    Beer ball (6th bbl.) = 5.16 gallons

    Both Matt and Hudepohl (in the ad above) used the line "equal to 55 - 12 oz." servings in their promotion of the balls.

    Have always have read that Stroh got credit (or blame) for the heavy promotion - if not the creation of - the Thirty Pack.
    [​IMG]
     
    #7 jesskidden, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  8. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (434) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    You're right, my math was bad
     
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    It wasn't just the Regional Breweries that produced Beer Balls back in the day. The Megabreweries did as well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers!
     
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Heavy old fashioned wooden kegs could mame or kill delivery men, and they were replaced with aluminum, steel and then stainless steel kegs which would occasionally explode, hurting bartenders or picnickers. And bottles and cans have also caused bodily harm. So, a plastic ball in a cardboard box seems safe but these damn things apparently could also be dangerous
    --- if you were a deer.
    [​IMG]
    :thinking_face: So I've heard...:smiley:
     
    #10 jesskidden, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Without photos it is just hearsay!?!:stuck_out_tongue:
     
  12. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (416) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Genny Cream Ale = Screamers. Good times.

    Two points of importance,

    Genesee is a county in western New York State. Though the brewery is actually located in Rochester, which is Monroe County, the brewery is along the Genesee River and it remains fairly popular in Central and Western NY. It is Old Man beer that never became trendy (like PBR).

    More importantly
    When I was a newly minted 21 year old beer buyer in Ithaca I was fortunate enough to come across a Beer Ball marked 10.91 or something close. Which was a reference to a date and NOT the price. This was at the time when UPC scanners were widespread in grocery stores and there was some minor hysteria that because items were not individually tagged with the price you could be getting screwed at the register with no way of knowing.

    Now, up to that point, seeing the night manager at Wegmans knowing exactly that he was getting punked by some bullshit college jerks, getting away with the best beer ball deal known to young men, that was the best day in my life. Prior to marriage and a child naturally. Now I'm happy to sleep late on Sundays.
    And I do not miss Genny Beer Balls.
    Cheers.
     
  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, Genesee Beer never did, but there was a brief period there in the late 1970s when Genesee Cream Ale was pretty trendy. In 1978, it passed the 1 million barrel mark and became the #1 ale in the US (though Falstaff continued to print "America's Largest Selling Ale" on Ballantine XXX labels). Pretty impressive sales for a brewery with a distribution region of only around 14 states at the time. (Total Genesee barrelage would eventually hit 3.6M bbl in '81 and then it was all downhill from there...)

    The cream ale's largest market was out of state, in Philadelphia, and numerous northeast and other region's US breweries followed with their own "cream ales" - some new, some revived - like Schmidt's Kodiak C.A., The Lion's Liebotschaner C.A., Schaefer Cream Ale,, Naragansett C.A., Pearl C.A., Pittsburgh's Robin Hood C.A., etc. Heileman re-labeled recently purchased Carling's long time Red Cap Ale as Red Cap Cream Ale. Utica Club Cream Ale got a new fancy label and seemed to have a slight revival/broader distribution. Rheingold started bottling (and, soon after, canning) McSorley's after many years as a limited, draught-only beer, the new label calling it "Cream Ale". The brand was quickly picked up by Ortlieb after Rheingold's demise. Falstaff (which brewed the above mentioned Pearl and 'Gansett C.A.'s, and still sold the Pickwick and Croft ales in New England) even test-marketed a Ballantine Cream Ale. Nearly a dozen imitators* ? I'd call that trendy :wink:.

    * Of course, around the same time Schoenling's Little Kings Cream Ale was also doing very well in the Great Lakes/Mid-west regions, and some of those above-named cream ales, as well as Heileman's Blatz Cream Ale (in a 7 oz. long-neck green bottle, no less), were likely also after Schoenling's market. (Rheingold, for one, which probably didn't even have an existing marketing presence in Ohio shipped McSorley's there apparently).
     
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Yup, Genny Cream Ale was the 'it' beer in the Philly area during the latter 1970's. Very popular.

    And before or after the years of Genny Cream Ale being the 'it' beer then Molson Golden ws the 'it' beer.

    I guess folks wanted something 'different' and the difference here was ale vs. AAL?

    Cheers!
     
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, I remember beer shopping in the area and seeing all those 24 X 16 oz. returnable cases of Genesee Cream Ale going out (and empties back in) the area retailers and thinking:

    "How sad. You guys have Schmidt's Tiger Head Ale, Scheidt's (brewed by Schmidt's)Twentieth-Century Ale and Rams Head Ale as well as Neuweiler Cream Ale and McSorley's Cream Ale from Ortlieb brewed right here and you're drinking that "foreign" (Rochester, NY) under-hopped stuff?"

    Of course, I wasn't the only one thinking that - thus the infamous "Genesee is Moonie beer!" rumors.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    JK, do you have any recollection about beer promotion (advertising) for the above beers you mentioned?

    Did Genesee put money into promoting Genny Cream Ale or was this a PBR/Hipster grass roots kind of thing?

    I can relate that the locally (Philly) produced beers you mentioned were not well promoted from the best that I can recall. There was a healthy budget (e.g., TV commercials) for the AAL beers from Schmidt's and Ortlieb but I have zero memory that any of the other beers you listed had much (any?) advertising associated with them. People in those days, generally speaking, did not purchase beer they knew little (or nothing) about.

    Cheers!
     
  17. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (416) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    By "trendy" I mean Hipster Beer. Genny was popular, and still is, but I believe people drink it because they like it. Not because it's cool.
    Genny is not cool, is it? Cheap yes. Hip? Probably not. Which is all the more reason to enjoy it.
    Cheers
     
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Earlier today I visited my local Retail Beer Distributor and before purchasing beer I strolled around. I have not 'looked' at Genny Cream Ale and to my surprise their new packaging very much diminishes the aspect of Genesee:

    [​IMG]

    It's like they think that their version of Cream Ale is the one and only Cream Ale.

    Cheers!
     
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  19. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (416) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    I have been told, by who I do not recall, that Cream Ale is one of two beer styles that are 100% American. The other being Steam.

    Of course the last 10 years or so has turned the whole notion of styles upside down and the nuance can be academic but sure, I'll give that idea some cred. And @jesskidden surely has newspaper clippings clearly showing this line of thinking had been debunked in 1910... but anyway... When you think Cream Ale you think Genny.
    Cheers
     
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  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    Genny advertised in a lot of outdoors publications, and sponsored a series of fishing tournements. Curt Gowdy was a spokesman for a fair while. They also sponsored local/regional auto racing. While the sponsor here is the Buffalo area distributor, Gohr, Modified legend Roger Treichler carried Cream Ale colors for years: [​IMG]
     
  21. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (416) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Is it a Mustang II vs an AMC Gremlin? For Chrise Sake this is a depressing pic.
     
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  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,292) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Anyone else catch the can of Genny just left of the B pillar on the front car? :grin:

    @billandsuz , the shape of the forward car is too small to be a Mustang of any model... maybe a Vega*?

    *Or maybe another AMC, an AMX?
     
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  23. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (416) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Holy crap you are right. A Vega. Always on the top 10 list of worst cars ever. Worse than the Pacer even.

    The Vega, described my Click and Clack as made of compressed rust. General Motors is the largest car corporation in the world,'' Ray (or Tom?) said. ''And the best that it could come up with was this car with an engine that melted and a body that rusted so badly that the cars sometimes broke in half.
     
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, they even have a separate website for it https://www.originalcreamale.com/
    (although it remains on Genesee's site, too https://www.geneseebeer.com/beer/genesee-cream/ ).
    Well, the two "American" styles being cream ale and steam beer was kinda debatable into the 1970s, but between "light beer" and then all the "craft" styles that followed it chronologically (but certainly not influence-wise...:grin:) it's no longer the case, I'd say.

    But Genesee Cream Ale, while certainly the largest selling cream ale ever is not really a "cream ale" in the classic sense. Created in 1960 long after cream ale's first two heydays (in the Pre-Pro era and first two decades or so of post-Repeal ), former Genesee brewmaster Gary Geminn, whose father, Clarence Geminn, "created the beer has acknowledged that it was essentially a blend of that 12 Horse Ale and the brewery's lager, Genesee Beer." (citation - Joe Sixpack column, no longer online).

    Michael Jackson's first US ed. of The Pocket Guide to Beer [1982] noted the same thing:


    Genesee, which marketed numerous ales post-Repeal (there was even a short-lived "9 Horse Ale") even had two earlier cream ales in the '40s-'50s Dickens Cream Ale and Light Cream Ale (which appears to later have been labeled just "Light Ale" in the 1930s based on the graphics with the "little man" butler over those years).

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (550) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
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    [QUOTE="jesskidden, post: 6766809, member: 33806" it was essentially a blend of that 12 Horse Ale and the brewery's lager, Genesee Beer[/QUOTE]

    Any idea of the ratio of 12 horse to lager? Genny was the cheap draft at the Tin and Lint in Saratoga in 1988 when stationed there to train at the nuclear power plant in
    Ballston Spa. Servicable but I had the difficulty discerning the difference b/w it and the remainder of AALs it was served beside-my guess is the lager>>ale.
     
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, if you went over to North American Street in Philly, Joe would be happy to show you his line-up...
    [​IMG]
    But, likely the advertising was mostly POP stuff, table tents, posters, etc., and then newspaper ads, maybe some radio.

    Well, sure, I think brand loyalty was probably more important then but all those small and mid-sized regional brewers watched every penny - after all, the beer they made often cost them more than the national brands (thanks to the macro brewers' economy of scale) but they often had to sell it for less, so the fact that the beers existed at all meant someone was buying those minor brands in the regionals' portfolios - while they lasted.
     
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, I can't believe that is how GCA is still made today.

    For one thing, 12 Horse Ale was totally reformulated in 1979, made into a lighter "Canadian-style" ale, and then has come and gone in the decades that followed. About a decade ago during one of the 12 Horse revival periods, it was said to be 5.1%* and the lager was 4.5% --- so blended together they wound up with a 5.2% Cream Ale? How does that happen? But, with high gravity-brewing, I doubt the abv of the finished products in much help.
    * The current 12 Horse Ale is labeled 5.3%.

    Plus, I kinda doubt it's still made by blending two beers (especially given how often 12 Horse Ale has not been on the market). A recent article quoted a Genesee brand exec:
    So, that'd make it the opposite of a classic US "Bastard Ale" - fermented warm using lager yeast.

    Funny that both the recent quote and the Gary Geminn quote used the qualifier "essentially"... c'mon, what IS it?
     
    #27 jesskidden, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Well, permit me to add a couple more styles that in my opinion are American styles:
    • Classic American Pilsner
    • Kentucky Common
    There may indeed be more than the above but needless to say there will be pundits who may quibble here.

    Cheers!
     
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  29. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    Vega. Just the bodies, the cars underneath are custom built.
     
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  30. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    Yup, he had one attached for years. he traveled all over the northeast, new england, and down into the Carolinas and Virginia. Got plenty of exposure.
     
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  31. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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  32. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,567) Sep 24, 2007 Liechtenstein
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    Not sure what year this ad is from, but, I certainly bought many cases of those Pounders!

    [​IMG]
     
  33. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,104) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    I was just about to say exactly this. I drank from many Bud Light, Bud heavy beer balls at college parties in Boston and this was a slightly “recently” (2005-2009).

    The great thing about beer balls is that there was no paperwork to fill out, you just pay for the beer and you’re all set (presuming you have a tap already). This was always the much safer option when buying with a fake ID, unlike kegs where you basically needed a 3 forms of ID and a letter from your local congressman in order to get one

    And holy shit were those things fun to smash apart when you’re young, stupid and drunk
     
  34. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Meyvn (1,017) Nov 4, 2015 New York
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    When I was a kid, the "old man beer" was regular Genny.
    Genny Creme was cheap, it was everywhere, & seemed to have appeal for those that liked regular Genny & those that didn't (or didn't like Carling Black Label) , & coudn't, or woudn't splurge on Rolling Rock. :stuck_out_tongue:

    I'm guessing that future archaeologists , upon finding Genny Creme cans in & around ~every fire pit, around every body of water & (ancient)corn field in what was upstate NY (&PA?) will surmise that it had religious significance. :grin:
     
  35. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Meyvn (1,017) Nov 4, 2015 New York
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    I know , as a kid (too young to drink) we had plenty of fun with them(Genny, mostly), in various ways, upon finding them in/along the river.
     
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  36. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,104) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    If you fill them with water and drop them off a balcony they make a really satisfying popping sound
     
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  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Guilty as charged. Me and a bunch of friends (all underage) got somebody to buy us a case of Genny Cream Ale and we went to a local park and had a fire pit and beer party. Breaking two laws at the same time.:flushed:

    We did not even think about getting a beer ball for extracurricular activities. Oh well!?!:confused:

    Cheers!

    @tzieser
     
  38. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (434) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    And skunks. We had to put down a lot of skunks with their heads stuck trying to get to the stale left over beer

    They are in upstate NY. Empire has a nitro, but I don't recall any other unflavored cream ale on the shelves.

    Genesee did little advertising in their backyard. I remember some ads for 12 Horse and Genny light, but not much of anything for regular or cream, they didn't really need it.
    Like Utica Club, it's what your father and uncles and their friends drank, it's what you started off drinking, and every corner bar had it on tap.
    One of the bars I frequented had 10¢ wings and $5 pitchers of Genny (cream or regular) on Tuesdays. I miss those days.
     
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  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, I lived in NYS on and off from around 1977 - 1985 (Adirondacks - Albany - Fingers Lakes) - so during Genesee's peak barrelage period - and the one TV commercial ad campaign for the Cream Ale that I recall* was a guy or a couple at a bar or restaurant asking what kinds of beer they have and the bartender/clerk says "...and Genesee Cream Ale", at which point the customer (I picture a dude with blond blow-dried hair in a golf shirt) snarls "I don't like ale!" and then it's explained how ...
    [​IMG]

    :rolling_eyes:
    That campaign gave me a lifelong annoyance with the Genesee Brewing Co., since I did like ale, and, back then, ale = hops, and hoppy was obviously what the dude in the commercial didn't like about ale and "Different" meant underhopped.

    Genesee's brewmasters' mothers were obviously scared by a 200 lbs bale of hops when they were pregnant with them, 'cause that outfit had the unhoppiest ales going... even the pre-1979 12 Horse Ale, while I like it well-enough, was way under-hopped for the style.

    * That means I'm sure my description is mostly incorrrect. :grin:

    Well, at the time discussed when Genesee Cream Ale was on it's way to #1, (1975 - 1980) one could find Schmidt's Tiger Head Ale, Ballantine XXX Ale, Utica Club Cream Ale, Carling Red Cap Ale, Koch's Deer Run Ale and their version of Black Horse Ale, and Iroquois Ale on New York State shelves (but it wasn't easy). Pretty sure Schaefer's (ex-Beverwyck) Irish Brand Cream Ale was dropped sometime the 1960s but I imagine they shipped their new circa 1978 Schaefer Cream Ale up there, too.
     
    #39 jesskidden, Jan 17, 2020 at 5:10 PM
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020 at 5:21 PM
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    The other cream ale that I was aware of during the 1970’s was Little Kings Cream Ale (Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co.). Today, the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

    Apparently Little Kings Cream Ale is still being produced but I personally have seen it in years (decades).

    One other Cream Ale I vaguely recall is Stegmaier Liebotschaner Cream Ale. I just did a quick web search and apparently this beer is still made:

    https://www.lionbrewery.com/liebots... Prussia, PA 19406, USA&category=52&radius=25

    Cheers!

    P.S. I am confident that jesskidden could list a whole bunch of Cream Ale brands that were available in the Philly area.