Beer advertising is certainly a staple of any radio station aiming at a mostly male demographic, and beer companies sponsor many concerts and radio events. But how many stations actually have their own beer?
I was sitting in a nice Chicago tavern that features vintage beer cans displayed on a shelf circling the room. I looked up and saw a can that seemed to have radio call letters on it. Upon closer inspection I saw that indeed the beer was branded WFBG Radio’s Keystone Country Beer. WFBG is an AM stations, licensed to Altoona, Pennsylvania, pretty much smack dab in the middle of the state. Currently WFBG is a news/talk station, but back in the 70s and 80s it was a Top 40 station.
A little bit of internet research informed me that this vessel seems pretty common amongst beer can collectors. The site Tavern Trove has an unopened example from 1980 available. But since the beer was produced in the time before a public internet, I haven’t been able to learn much more about the beer. Even a Lexis-Nexis newspaper search turned up nothing. However, I do know that it was brewed by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, which is now known as Iron City Brewing.
I’m quite intrigued by the idea of a radio station having its own brand of beer. WFBG’s Keystone Country Beer is from the same era when there was a beer named after the President’s brother, so I’d guess there were plenty of other regional beer co-branded beers or named for celebrities. I wonder if there were other stations that also had their own beers during the 70s and 80s, or at any other time.
It seems to me that the growing popularity of craft brewing should result in collaborations between radio stations and craft breweries. Only instead of a cookie-cutter CHR or active rock station I’d see an independent freeform or community station working with a similarly independent small brewery, rather than a relatively big brewer like Pittsburgh/Iron City.
Radio Survivor readers: can anyone tell us about any beers branded for radio stations, past or present? If so, comment on this post.
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