Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club

MABAC Members Go to MOWA Exhibit of Early Wisconsin Advertising

On Saturday, September 17th several members of the club made an excursion to West Bend to view the display of early Wisconsin beer and liquor advertising at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA.) Sid Hatch, Peter Maas, Erik Hecker and Henry Hecker made the trip and enjoyed seeing some of the finest examples of beer, whiskey, and bitters advertising still in existence in the form of trays, signs, posters, labels, calendars and broadsides. The evolution of advertising is chronicled as the forerunner to more sophisticated marketing methods for product branding. Wisconsin’s early brewers and distillers were very progressive in using various mediums of printing and lithography on tin, paper, wood, and glass. Using brightly colored visual images drawn from contemporary family life, history, mythology, a generous dose of female pulchritude, and even pure fantasy, these early manufactures blazed the trail for today’s multimedia advertising campaigns. They employed catchy slogans and product names to induce consumption augmented by (mostly bogus) claims of health benefits to those that imbibed.
The display was assembled from various collections whose owners graciously offered up examples via temporary loans to the museum. Items from the Potosi Breweriana Museum, Miller-Coors, and several prominent private collectors with familiar names such as Yahr, Markiewicz, and Steiner contributed to the exhibition. The entrance fee to see the collection is $12. The admission can also serve as a one year membership to MOWA and is tax deductible. The Museum is located at 205 Veterans Avenue in downtown West Bend on the east side of the river. The phone number is 262-334-9638 and further information is also available at www.wisconsinart.org. You can go to the website to view a series of interviews with Debra Markiewicz, Rich Yahr and John Steiner narrating more of their collections and explaining the origins of their collecting.

The full portfolio of photos of this temporary assemblage of premier advertising art follows, but there is still time until September 25 to see the collection first hand! This is a rare opportunity to see this many great items at one time.
Author: Henry Hecker
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