Posts tagged ‘prohibition’

Beer and Candy III

annheuser-busch 1952

You don’t think about Budweiser crossing paths with the Lollypop Tree, but once again, it turns out candy and liquor have a tangled past.

It all goes back to Prohibition, of course.

Anheuser-Busch started out as the Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri in 1852. After a number of changes in owners and names, Anheuser-Busch began producing Budweiser in 1876. Michelob followed in 1896. By 1900, Anheuser-Busch was selling one million barrels of beer a year.

And then, the catastrophe known in the American brewery and distillery business as “Prohibition.” In 1920, it became illegal to manufacture and sell alcohol. What is a thiving manufacturer to do? In a word, diversify.

To keep afloat, Anheuser-Busch branched out. They started selling ice cream, barley malt syrup, ginger ale, root beer, chocolate- and grape-flavored beverages, truck and bus bodies, refrigerated cabinets, baker’s yeast and dealcoholized Budweiser.

And they started selling corn syrup, a key ingredient for the growing candy industry.

This advertisement is from the June 17, 1952 issue of Candy Industry. The ad shows that in the 1950s, long past the days of Prohibition, Anheuser-Busch was actively seeking customers for their corn products in the candy business. I’d love to be at one of those meetings, imagine the snack table laden with foamy mugs and candy canes…

An update on Anheuser-Busch: today the company’s principle concerns are beer, packaging, and theme park entertainment. They also have interests in malt production, rice milling, real estate development, turf farming, metalized and paper label printing, bottle production and transportation services. I’ll bet they miss the candy.

Sources: Candy Industry, June 17, 1952; http://www.anheuser-busch.com

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  • Beer and Candy II
  • October 19, 2009 at 6:21 am 6 comments

    Beer and Candy II

    Schlitz Candy?

    The best story about candy and prohibition is the tale of Leonard Schlitz. He came from a beer family. His uncle was Joseph Schlitz, the founder of the Schlitz brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And he got his start in beer, traveling the country as a Schlitz sales representative.

    As he traveled the western states, he noticed something: people were drinking less beer. And they were eating more candy. A lightbulb went off. The future, Schlitz saw, was in candy.

    Schlitz quit the brewery and struck out on his own. He took his capital and his experience and his connections and put it all into candy making.

    What became of his candy factory we don’t know, but we have to wonder whether he ever experimented with beer-flavored lollipops.

    Source: “From Beer to Candy,” International Confectioner Nov. 1915: 40.

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  • Beer and Candy I
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  • September 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

    Beer and Candy I

    Remember Prohibition? The nation went officially dry in 1920, but through the nineteen-teens, temperance activists succeeded in passing anti-alcohol laws in several states. By 1913, more than half the U.S. population was living in areas that prohibited alcohol.

    The candy industry benefited tremendously from the declining availability of beer and spirits. Soda and ice cream shops took the place of saloons, and the taste for a certain something was satisfied with sweet candies when bootleg liquors couldn’t be found.

    Scientists had an interesting theory about the relation between candy eating and alcohol. Having discovered that the sugars in candy fermented in the stomach in a manner that seemed similar to the fermentation of alcohol, candy seemed awfully close to liquor. For candy alarmists, this meant candy eating was tantamount to alcoholic dissipation. But for candy lovers, this explained why candy eating and “tippling” didn’t mix, and why eating more candy would lead to drinking less liquor. As one scientific explanation put it:

    “The body requires a certain amount of alcohol which it acquires through the channels of normal food, but when one consumes the alcohol by greater than normal activity, he requires a food which will produce more than the normal amount of alcohol, and he eats in candy–or booze. The difference is that the candy gives him the alcohol without injury, while whiskey and other stimulants are not gentle in their after effects.”

    So the basic theory was: you need “alcohol” which both liquor and candy supply; better to get it from candy!

    This was a good reason to let children eat candy: deprived, they risked a future of alcoholism and misery. Here is some 1916 advice for the friends and family of the alcohol abuser: “If you are unfortunate enough to have some dear one addicted to the drink habit, get him (or, we regret to add, her) to EAT MORE CANDY. It may not cure, but it will help.”

    Source: “Eat More Candy,” International Confectioner, July 1916: 68.

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  • Beer and Candy II
  • Beer and Candy III
  • September 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm 4 comments


    Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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