Beer CCans                                                           & Brewery ollectibles                                ...
Beer CCans                                                           & Brewery ollectibles                                ...
Beer CCans                                                            & Brewery ollectibles     ITEM during the Holiday Se...
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Olde Frothingslosh Backgound


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Olde Frothingslosh Backgound

  1. 1. Beer CCans & Brewery ollectibles Beer CCans & Brewery ollectibles OH MY GOSH – OLDE A full bottle from the very first edition of Olde Frothingslosh, from 1954. FROTHINGSLOSH! PART 1 A brew with the foam on the bottom – Crudleigh V-9 automobile, thin enough to drive down the center line of the highway! But these spoofs, funny as they were, pale in comparison to Cordic’s invention of “the they had to be kidding, right? pale stale ale with the foam on the bottom”—Olde Frothingslosh. The saga of the fabu- lous brew’s creation, as explained to Pittsburgh radio audiences by none other than Sir Well actually, they were. And thus Reginald Frothingslosh VI himself is as follows: begins the wacky story of America’s Long ago, Sir Reginald Frothingslosh I and his lovely wife Sir Lady Frothingslosh II (or III) received a command from King Henry VIII, affection- most beloved novelty beer brand. ately called the Vee-I-Yi-Yi. “Other brews won’t do!” shouted the king. “I want a new old ale—a pale stale ale—an ale that’s lighter, milder, more flexible than any other advertised on television!” “Will do,” said Sir Reggie, since BY SIR TEDDY SCULLIN #MXLI he valued his head. First they selected a suitable building site (a site for sore eyes) at Upper- If you lived in Pittsburgh in the mid-1950s, it’s likely that you had your radio Crudney-on-the-Thames, just tuned to KDKA-AM, where a madcap gent named Rege Cordic held sway from down the river from the glue 6-10 a.m. every morning but Sunday. His show, “Cordic & Co.,” became so factory. Their castle-type brewery popular that it commanded an astronomical 85% market share. Regular visitors was erected in record time (they to his show included cornball fictional characters like Omicron and Noodnicron, worked Knights). aliens from Venus; Carmen Monoxide, the taxidermist; studio announcer Production bogged down for a Roquefort Q. LaFarge; and Louie the Garbage Man, who with his truck while. Scientific research gave “Catherine” had been featured in Better Homes and Garbage magazine. them the answer: someone had Cordic and his stable of writers kept the laughs flowing by creating fake neglected to order ingredients (it’s advertising for make-believe products. On any given morning you might difficult to make ale without ingre- hear commercials for Cordic & Co. Research Laboratories (Better Things dients). So Sir Reggie and Sir Lady for Better Living Through Chicanery); Mediocre Midget Cigarettes (the set out to find the finest. In the Short Cigarette for the Man in a Hurry) in crush-proof stainless steel African province of Hippety, they PBC produced 250,000 cans of Sir Lady packs; Gizzards Little Cotter Pins (They Pull You Together) and the found the right hops—Hippety Hops Frothingslosh in 1955. 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961Olde Frothingslosh clicks in ’56!24 Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles • December 2010 / January 2011 Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles • December 2010 / January 2011 25
  2. 2. Beer CCans & Brewery ollectibles was so pale the first few cases Olde Frothingslosh in bottles and a quarter Olde fainted. And it was so flexible that it of a million 8 oz cans of Sir Lady Frothingslosh was certified to fit any shape of Frothingslosh (USBC 242-16). They went ended when glass, without any bending at all. like hotcakes, and brewery brass realized he succumbed The King (Vee-I-Yi-Yi) tasted the they were onto something. in 1965 to the first glassful. A fortnight later, he In a 1961 magazine article, PBC ad man- siren song of uttered those immortal words that ager John de Coux reported, “We were order- Hollywood. have resounded through the ages: ing lots of 10 and 20 thousand cases, not Radio station “Oh My Gosh—Olde Frothingslosh!” really believing it ourselves. It went the same KNX in L.A. way in ’56 and ’57. Now we’re selling thou- hired him on to Cordic introduced his listeners to sands of cases every Christmas season, start- replace a morning Olde Frothingslosh Olde Frothingslosh in 1954, and the ing shortly before Thanksgiving, in markets drive time deejay named Bob Crane, who was born in the fictional commercials were such a hit like Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, had left to star in his own television show, madcap mind of that calls started pouring in to KDKA Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.” At their Hogan’s Heroes. Pittsburgh radio from people wanting to know where At its peak, retailers sold 50,000-80,000 cases peak, Olde Frothingslosh sales eventually Pittsburgh Brewing’s decision to produce personality Rege they could buy the stuff! But it wasn’t of Olde Frothingslosh annually, all during the averaged 50,000–80,000 cases a year! and market Olde Frothingslosh was based Cordic, seen here in only the radio station whose phone Christmas season! Rege Cordic had sold his rights to the Olde on an insight that came only later to many various promotional lines were buzzing; folks were also Frothingslosh concept to Pittsburgh Brewing other brewers: develop novel packaging and roles, including that calling the Pittsburgh Brewing Christmas gifts to shareholders and busi- Company, but that didn’t end his involvement prople will buy your beer not for what’s in of Sir Reginald. Company to ask about availability. ness associates. Word of mouth did the with the brand. Far from it: one Old the bottle (or can), but for what’s on it. This soon caught the eye (and ear), of rest; the brewery got so many inquiries Frothingslosh bottle label featured Cordic in a In his 1955 letter to beer distributors, PBC are tops, you know. For lightness PBC’s President, S.E. Cowell. that management decided to take the tux and top hat, posing as Sir Reginald VI. President S.E. Cowell wrote: and mildness, they selected nice rice, Next thing you know, Cowell phoned brand to market during the following More importantly, Cordic & Co. worked sweet wheat and mad, mad malt. Cordic with a great idea—to bottle beer year’s holiday season. with the brewery’s ad agency, Ketchum, Newspaper, The staff went to work with a Will under the Olde Frothingslosh label. Cordic In a letter to retailers Cowell wrote, “The Macleod and Grove, to put together a Radio, and (Will Tuppence of Devonshire). A little agreed and sold the rights to the name to Pittsburgh Brewing Company is going to slew of Olde Frothingslosh commercials Television ads trouble did develop with those who put PBC. Like the lovable marionette in Carlo package a limited supply of Olde that aired in 1960 on 42 radio and eight will tell your the foam on the ale—the white collar Collodi’s Pinocchio, Olde Frothingslosh was Frothingslosh as a means of introducing television stations. Many featured Cordic, customers that workers, that is. But soon the first about to become real. YOUR customers to genuine Tech Golden and all of them were hilarious; one radio they can order batch came forth. Like the King (Vee-I- Pilsener Beer, the lightest, finest Pilsener spot featured an interview with a baseball cases of Olde Yi-Yi) had commanded, it was like no HOLIDAY CHEER ever brewed. The beer itself IS fine Tech star who proclaimed, “I always shave with Frothingslosh other ever brewed. S.E. Cowell’s original idea was to put up Pilsener … only the label is a gag. This sales it.” The budget for the ad campaign was a from YOU … that It was so light, the beer floated on about 500 cases of Olde Frothingslosh (the gimmick will get TECH Beer into many new hefty $200,000—nearly $1.5 million in they can serve top of the foam. The foam was on the brew was really PBC’s Tech Pilsener) homes—and make many new friends.” today’s dollars. and enjoy this bottom (no more messy mustaches!). It during the 1954 holiday season as In 1955, PBC produced 10,000 cases of Cordic’s active role in the marketing of COLLECTOR’S 1962 This collection of 1962 Frothingslosh items includes all six labels, a teddibly silly bottle and 6-pack, a cardboard case, and a 6-pack topper. Note the appeal to label collectors on the topper.26 Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles • December 2010 / January 2011 Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles • December 2010 / January 2011 27
  3. 3. Beer CCans & Brewery ollectibles ITEM during the Holiday Season. Olde Frothingslosh promotion will 1963 (4 of 6 shown) 1964 (4 of 6 shown) 1965 (4 of 6 shown) send customers to YOU to order cases of this real Collector’s Item for home delivery in time for the holi- days …. Order your supply right away. And so, from 1955 to 1961, eachannual batch of Olde Frothingsloshsported a new and different tongue-in-cheek label. Rege Cordic’s name actu-ally appears on some of them. Then in1962 and 1963 the brewery bumped upthe interest level—and sales—with twosets of six labels each that spoofedother drinkables (and took punning toa new low). Goofy new six-label setsfollowed in 1964 and 1965. The 1964labels featured Cordic in a half-dozenoutlandish disguises. But change was in the wind for themarketing of everybody’s (or at leastPittsburgh’s) favorite pale stale ale.Rege Cordic was now a continentaway, and S.E. Cowell—havinglaunched both Olde Frothingslosh andthe world’s first pull-tab beer can,retired from PBC in 1966.•The telling of this story would not havebeen possible without major contributionsfrom Iron City collectors Chuck Puckett#32804 and Mark Young #5494, whoseknowledge of Olde Frothingslosh is ency-clopedic. Thanks for sharing so much ofyour time and knowledge. A 1955 cardboard back bar display. 1966 1967 COMING NEXT ISSUE: "OH MY GOSH—MISS FROTHINGSLOSH!"28