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COM: April 2010

Brew 747: 1973

Brew 747. Brew 747. Brew 747.

This isn't a real beer can, it's an empty promotional can issued by United Airlines in 1973. If you open it up you find a set of coupons for attractions, restaurants and tours in Hawaii. It was given away on flights to Hawaii.

(see below, photo from www.airliners.net Thanks Bryan!)

I love the design on this can as it's typical of the early 1970s with its bright colors and cartoon Statue of Liberty. The slogan on the can, "Over Land & Sky Blue Waters" is a nice play on the famous Hamm's Beer slogan, "From the Land of Sky Blue Waters." I have it on my shelves along with my Primo and other Hawaiian cans.

There was also a six-pack. This one has a mailing label on the bottom, so it was apparently sent as-is through the USPS. One of the cans was open and there was a small tourist guide inside with information for tourists in Hawaii. It was sponsored by Primo Beer.

six pack.
six pack.


OK, so what's the background behind this can?

United and the 747

United Airlines began flights to Honolulu from San Francisco in 1947.  Air travel to Hawaii was increasingly popular and in the 1960s Boeing began design of a large capacity aircraft to meet the growing demand. Design work began in 1965 and Pan Am ordered 25 of the planned aircraft in 1966. It was expected that supersonic aircraft (the SST) would eventually make it obsolete, so designers made the aircraft so it could built either as a cargo plane or for carrying passengers. The 747 was test flown in 1968. Nicknamed "the jumbo jet" it could carry up to 452 passengers, 2.5 times the passengers of the 707, then the most commonly used airliner.

Pan Am took delivery of the first commercial 747 in January 1970. United bought six of the new planes in 1970. Below is a photo from United Airlines' website showing one of the early 747s in their early 1970s paint scheme. Interestingly, United's history webpage remarks one reason why the airline lost money in the 1970s was "the premature introduction of the jumbo Boeing 747." The aircraft had few technical issues, but needed to fly at full capacity to make up for the fuel costs. Since fuel prices were growing so rapidly in the 1970s, this caused all sorts of problems for the airlines. Other larger aircraft, such as the DC-10, used three engines instead of the 747's four, and so carried a lot of passengers while using less fuel.

United Airlines 747.

Photo used courtesy of United Airlines, www.united.com

United ran all sorts of promotions in the 1970s to attract passengers. And their ads played on the cool image of the 747 Jumbo Jet. My family took a vacation to Hawaii in 1976 when I was in high school and I remember being disappointed that we flew in a DC-10 instead of the 747. This month's can was part of that same promotional effort.

1973 United Ad.

1973 United newspaper ad.

I picked up my example of Brew 747 in the 1970s when I first started collecting cans. I don't remember where I got it, but it's one of the cans I have had the longest.

Sources Used

United Airlines history site

www.airfleets.net (United Airlines fleet info)

Wikipedia 747 Article

Thanks to Bryan (Falstaff4ever) for the photo and info.



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