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Antique Rheingold beer tray

Rheingold Beer, founded in 1883, is a New York beer that held 35 percent of the state's beer market from 1950 to 1960. The company was sold by the founding Liebmann family in 1963. According to the New York Times, "Rheingold Beer was once a top New York brew guzzled regularly by a loyal cadre of workingmen who would just as soon have eaten nails as drink another beer maker's suds." [1]

Miss Rheingold 1949

At the center of its media campaign was the "Miss Rheingold" pageant. Beer drinkers voted each year on the young lady who would be featured as Miss Rheingold in advertisements. In the 1940s and 1950s in New York, "the selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House." [2] The first Miss Rheingold was Spanish-born Jinx Falkenburg. [3] When Nat King Cole became the first major black entertainer to host a television show, advertisers stayed away—but not Rheingold; Rheingold was the New York regional sponsor for Cole's show. [4] As early as 1965, Rheingold aired television ads featuring African American, Puerto Rican and Asian actors, to appeal to its racially diverse customer base. [5] The company's headquarters was in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Rheingold was the official beer of the New York Mets, and its advertisements featured John Wayne, Jackie Robinson, and the Marx Brothers. [6] Rheingold shut down operations in 1976, when they were unable to compete with the large national breweries. Corporate consolidation and the rise of national breweries led to the demise of dozens of regional breweries. The Orange, New Jersey brewery was the last facility to close.

The label was revived in 1998 by Terry Liebmann and partner Mike Mitaro. According to an October 18, 1999 New York Observer article, Mitaro's Rheingold Brewing Company LLC bought the brand and Liebmann is a relative of Rheingold's founding family. When Rheingold re-launched, they revived the Miss Rheingold pageant. The new Miss Rheingold contestants no longer wore ball gowns and white gloves--"They had tattoos. They were pierced. They were badasses." In 2003, the Village Voice noted Rheingold for "the best marketing campaign co-opting hipster drinking habits." [7] In 2004, Rheingold stirred controversy in New York City with a series of ads which mock New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on smoking in bars and enforcement of city laws which prohibit dancing in bars which do not have a "cabaret license." Bloomberg responded by drinking Coors in public. [8][9]

In 2005, Drinks Americas of Wilton Ct., whose iconic brands include Trump Vodka and Dr. Dre Cognac, purchased Rheingold Brewing.[10] Drinks Americas has reformulated the Rheingold product for follow through distribution throughout the US. The date of the release is currently unknown.


In Popular Culture

The theme song of Rheingold Beer, applied lyrics to Emil Waldteufel's "Estudiantina Valse" (The Students' Waltz), op. 191, No. 4; it was sung nostalgically by Sophia, Blanche and Dorothy on an episode of The Golden Girls. She commented to her daughter, Dorothy, "Your father was always singing that damn jingle."

Les Paul recorded a very popular radio commercial for Rheingold in 1951.[11]

In the film The Godfather, a Rheingold delivery truck can be seen in the background while Sonny beats up his brother-in-law Carlo.

In the film Silver Bullet (film), Arnie Westrum is first seen singing a drunken rendition of the Rheingold beer song.

The title of the novel Ice-Cold in Alex refers to Captain Anson longing for a Rheingold in Alexandria.

The history of the Rheingold Girl contest is recounted in Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed (Harper 2008).

In Life on Mars Gene Hunt is seen drinking a Rheingold beer, Green bottle, during one of the scenes

In the Hi Def Jam episode of King of Queens, Doug and his friends are all seen drinking Rheingold while playing poker.

In the movie Just Looking,which takes place in 1955, Rheingold beer and advertisements are shown throughout.

The November, 1954, issue of Mad (#17), has a parody of Miss Rheingold, drawn by Basil Wolverton, where the readers are asked to "Choose Miss Potgold of 1955."

See also

In the movie Sophie's Choice Nathan Landau played by Kevin Kline throws a beer to Stingo played by Peter MacNicol


  1. ^ Patricia Winters Lauro (February 12, 2003). "Rheingold Hopes to Rekindle the Romance Between the Beer and New York City". New York Times, reprinted by NYU. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  2. ^ Ellen Neuborne (June 1, 2003). "Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beer Holder". Business 2.0. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  3. ^ Will Anderson (1998). "Who'll Be New York's Favorite Girl? The Miss Rheingold Contest"., excerpt From Beer to Eternity. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  4. ^ "The Nat King Cole Show". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  5. ^ Carl H. Miller (2002). "Beer Commercials: A Brief History". Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  6. ^ "For an Old Beer, A New Life". New York Times. March 31, 1998. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  7. ^ Carla Spartos (2003). "best of New York 2003". Village Voice. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  8. ^ "NYC mayor blasts Rheingold for planned ads". Modern Brewery Age. April 26, 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  9. ^ Colin Moynihan (April 19, 2004). "After Brewer Unveils Ads, Mugs Aren't All That's Frosty". New York Times, reprinted by NYU. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  
  10. ^ "Drinks Americas to buy Rheingold brand". Press release. 2005-06-27. Retrieved 2008-07-18.  
  11. ^ Gil Hembree (2002). "Les Paul: Birth of a Guitar Icon (section titled "Commercial Appeal")". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 2007-01-14.  

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