Tuesday, 17 January 2012

William Younger adverts from the 1920's

The topics have been rather heavy of late. All those company prospectuses and detailed comparisons of English and Scottish beers. There's something much lighter today. You guessed it (probably after reading the title) old ads.

Funnily enough, they're all advertising Scotch Ale. In Nottingham.

 Nottingham Evening Post Friday 2nd March 1923

"A Tankard O' The Best
will ensure a good night's rest You want a mellow warming drink these chilly nights, and you can get it in Wm. Younger's Scotch Ale. " It fairly warms the cockles of your heart," and brings a glow of contentment and cheer that fortifies both body and mind. It is just the same grand ale that your forefathers used to drink. Insist on getting

William Younger's
Scotch Ale
Brewed in Edinburgh

The beer with a bite in it."
The same beer as your forefathers drank? I don't think so. By the 1920's, Younger's beers were full of grits and nothing like the strength they'd been just 10 years earlier.

I doubt the rest of the advert would make it past Advertising Standards nowadays. That stuff about fortifying the body and the mind. You not allowed to make health claims for alcoholic drinks.

 Nottingham Evening Post Friday 16th February 1923

"That's BEER that is!"
What a joy to get a glass of Wm. Younger's Scotch Ale. Its rich golden colour feasts the eye, its fine nutty flavour delights the palate, and its pure honest quality benefits mind and body. It is the beer of tradition ; praised by songsters and prized by our ancestors. As a winter drink—warming and cheering—there is nothing to equal it. You can get it by insisting on

William Younger's
Scotch Ale
Brewed in Edinburgh

The beer with a bite in it."

Notice the theme running through these adverts? Harking back to the good old days.  Not quite sure of the period of the costume. 18th century, perhaps.

My god. There's an actual description of the beer. Golden colour, nutty flavour. No I'm all confused. Which beer are they talking about? I'd been assuming No. 3. But that was dark. My second guess, No. 1 was also dark. Either this description has got the colour all wrong, or they're talking about a completely different beer.

Pure honest quality? Like I said, their beer was full of grits at this point. Very traditional. And there are more dubious health claims. Tut, tut.

 Nottingham Evening Post Friday 2nd February 1923

"Mine Host knows
his customers' taste when he stocks Wm. Younger's Scotch Ale. This is why you find this century-old famous beverage at all the best inns.

No need to spoil your palate with thin watery beer  when by asking for Wm. Younger's you make sure of a drink that is good to the last drop. A glass of "good stuff" is worth two of the other sort. Ask for

William Younger's
Scotch Ale
Brewed in Edinburgh

The beer with a bite in it."
The costume this time looks Elizabethan. Which is odd, given that William Younger didn't start until the late 18th century.

I'm in agreement about not spoiling my palate with watery beer. That's why St. Bernardus Abt is my beer of choice. No health claims this time. Just an implied claim that their beer is stronger than everyone else's. Pretty sure that isn't allowed today either.

Hey, just noticed what's written on that barrel: No. 3. I guess  that's the mystery of which beer it was solved. Just the mystery of the colour remains.

1 comment:

Gary Gillman said...

Excellent! There seems a light years gain in the sophistication of adman talk from the Victorian and Edwardian periods to the 1920's. And while some things have changed since the Flapper time, the general approach of this ad is still modern and recognizable.

Plus, it shows that the term "bite" goes back a long time when you used to describe characterful beer. Guinness is currently using the term in a FES ad distributed in the U.S. beer press, for example. (I've always felt it was a term devised, not by a brewer, but either a non-brewing executive or an advertising one).

The early taste note is useful as well and suggests that even when hop rates had fallen off a fair bit from 100 years before, the beers were still fairly bitter. Which only increases the puzzle for me of mild ale being classically "sweetish or at least free from bitter".