Pub Malt Lager: 1966
This month let's go back to Richmond, Virginia, and the Home Brewing Company. This is a Pub Malt Lager can from about 1966-1967.
I covered the history of Home Brewing Company in my September 2004 COM, a Richbrau flat. Pub Malt Lager was likely a last ditch effort to increase market share for the struggling brewery. It was sold from 1966 until 1969 according to "Who's Who In Brew" but the cans are not very common so I suspect it wasn't canned for very long. The brewery closed in 1969. Maryland's Queen City Brewing made Richbrau (while using the Home Brewing name) from 1969-1973, but does not appear to have produced Pub.
Why Malt "Lager" and not Malt Liquor?
Virginia was one of two states (along with North Carolina) that didn't allow the use of the word "Liquor" on beer labels. So Malt Liquor labels in those two states read "Malt Lager" instead. Both have the same high-alcohol brew inside. Home Brewing sold their beer almost entirely in Virginia, as well as a little in North Carolina, so there was no need to make an additional Malt Liquor label.
OK, why did they chose "Pub" as a name? I haven't seen any documentation on the brand, and there isn't much about the Home Brewing Company in the brewing industry journals, such as Brewers Digest. My guess is that the brand name was picked to tap into the popularity of British things in the mid 1960s. This was the era of the music British Invasion lead by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Animals, etc.
James Bond movies were big at the box office with Sean Connery as Bond. Some British television shows, such as The Avengers, moved to American television. The popular Sci Fi show, Dr. Who, was turned into two movies which were intended to spread the show's popularity to the US. (The Dr Who movies did very well in the UK, but poorly in the US). Moreover, British fashions were also popular, in both clothing and hairstyles. The styles of the so-called Mods spread from London to the rest of Britain and to the US.
The British invasion was aimed at marketing to American youth, exactly the customers breweries needed to survive. The name of this month's brand, "Pub" is certainly English, as is the Tudor architecture on the buildings featured on the label. It is a little odd, however, that it was a Malt Lager. Lager-style beer came from central Europe, while Ales were popular in Britain.
Other "British Invasion" Brands
Home Brewing wasn't the only brand to try this strategy. The Standard-Rochester Brewing Company of Rochester, New York also sold a brand named Pub from 1964-1969. They sometimes used the name "Jaguar Brewing Company" and sold not only Pub Beer, but Jaguar Malt Liquor (left) and Jaguar Beer. As a promotion they used a Jaguar sports car (made in Britain) painted in a jaguar (cat) pattern. (below)
A photo of the brewery's Jaguar sports car and a six pack of their cans.
The most famous brand to try to tap into the British invasion market was James Bond's 007 Special Blend, which was a mix of beer and malt liquor. There were two sets of seven cans test marketed by National Brewing. The seven cans each feature a pretty British girl with some London scene in the background. The scenes in each set are the same, but one set has a white stripe and one does not. Test marketed for a short time in 1968, they are scarce and quite valuable, usually running between $500-1,000 each in good shape. BEWARE, there are a lot of fakes being produced by some scummy scam artists that sell then on eBay as "reproductions".