Hamm's Brewery

Hamm's Brewery

Hamm's is the name of a former American brewery in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The original Hamm's was established in 1865 when Theodore Hamm, a German immigrant, inherited the Excelsior Brewery from his friend and business associate, A. F. Keller. Keller had constructed his brewery over artesian wells in a section of the valley of the Phalen Creek valley near Saint Paul, Minnesota, known as Swede Hollow. Hamm hired Christopher Figg to be his masterbrewer, and by the 1880s the T. Hamm Brewing Company was reckoned the second largest in Minnesota.

His son, William, and grandson, William Jr. inherited the operation in 1903. During Prohibition the company survived by producing soft drinks and other food products, leaving it in a position to expand rapidly through acquisitions after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. In 1968 the company was acquired by the Heublein Brewing Company, which sold it to Olympia Brewing Company. In 1980 Olympia merged with Pabst, which was acquired by Stroh's in 1984 and it by Miller Brewing in 1999, and that in turn by South African Breweries later that year. The future of the brand is uncertain. There is limited distribution in North America.

Several beers are produced: the original Hamm's Premium, a pale lager; Hamm's Golden Draft; and Hamm's Special Light.

The name is most famous not for the company's beverages, however, but for its advertising jingle and for its mascot, the Hamm's Beer bear.

The original jingle, with lyrics by Nelle Richmond Eberhart and music by Charles Wakefield Cadman was derived from a 1909 art song entitled "From The Land of Sky-Blue Water." It was first used on radio and later extended to television. It started with the beating of tom-tom drums, after which a chorus intoned:

:From the Land of Sky Blue Waters, :From the land of pines' lofty balsams, :Comes the beer refreshing, :Hamm's the beer refreshing. :Brewed where nature works her wonders,:Aged for many moons, gently mellowed,:Hamm's the beer refreshing,:Hamm's the beer refreshing.

:From across the rippling water, :Through the whisp'ring pines and birches,:Comes the beer refreshing,:Hamm's the beer refreshing.

:Comes a call to cool enchantment, :Comes a call to cool refreshment,:Hamm's the beer refreshing,:Hamm's the beer refreshing.

:Hints of lakes and sunset breezes,:Dance and sparkle in each glassful,:Hamm's the beer refreshing,:Hamm's the beer refreshing.
* [http://mmd.foxtail.com/Sounds/hamms.mid MIDI of Hamm's jingle] (2K)
* [http://home.nycap.rr.com/dasimperator/hamms.mp3 MP3 of Hamm's Jingle] (128K)

Hamm's Beer bear

Even more famous than the jingle was the Hamm's Beer bear. The bear was incorporated into the first campaign produced by the Campbell Mithun advertising agency, which sought to emphasize the supposedly superior cleanliness and naturality of Hamm's beer owing to its clear water and production in pristine Minnesota, the "enchanted Northland." The first television commercial depicted animated beavers beating their tails to the tom-tom beat of the jingle, as well as live action shots of the forests and lakes of the "enchanted Northland." The second, produced in 1952, introduced the clumsy dancing black-and-white cartoon "Beer Bear," actually named "Sascha," which proved so popular it was used for the next three decades. The "Beer Bear" and other woodland creatures were seen many afternoons as Hamm's was the beer sponsor of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox in the late 50s and early 60s.

Hamm's is often one of the cheapest beers found on the shelf - roughly $10-$12 for a 30-pack is common. This factor has made it enduringly popular with drinkers on a budget, like college students. The most interesting thing about the beer is that today it is still talked about and many advertisements are sought after. The descendants of the Hamm's family are alive and well, today being spread throughout the country. A branch of the family still resides in MN and proudly honors their heritage and family ties. Check out many bars in northern MN and ND and you will find the Hamm's sign lighting the way home for every Hamm's beer lover out there.

In Culture

* Hamm's is featured in the 1972 film "The Candidate". Before reaching out to some hippies, Robert Redford shares a can of Hamm's with a female hippie. Later, Redford drinks Hamm's with Melvyn Douglas.
* In "Death Proof", a "Hamm's On Tap" neon sign hangs inside of The Texas Chili Parlor
* In "Convoy", a Hamm's tap handle serves as a shift knob in Rubber Duck's Mack truck which is also stocked with a cooler full of Hamm's.
* In "Near Dark", the massacred bar features a backlit Hamm's sign with Land of Sky Blue Waters scenery.
* In "The Graduate", Ben Braddock and Elaine Robinson ride on a city bus in Berkeley, California. As the bus drives past parked cars on the street a Hamm's truck is clearly visible.

External links

* [http://www.hammsclub.com/ Hamm's Club] , organization of memorabilia enthusiasts
* [http://www.millerbrewing.com/brandsBreweries/brands.asp Miller Brewing: Brands]
* [http://www.actionsquad.org/hammsoverview.htm Exploring the Hamm's Brewery] , Past & Present
* McHale, Dan. " [http://www.36views.moonfruit.com/ 36 Views of the Hamm's Brewery] ." Paintings of the Hamm's Brewery in San Francisco (1960's).

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