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Seuss’s beer ads “too good to miss”

March 2nd this year would have been the 110th birthday of Theodore Geisel, better known under his pen name Dr. Seuss. Although you’re surely familiar with Seuss’s literary output, you may not know about his ties to the world of brewing.

Seuss wrote and illustrated various print advertisements from the late 1920s into the 1940s. Among these were ads for Flit bug spray, a General Electric ad that showed Satan toasting a sinner (who, judging by his mustache, might be Adolf Hitler), and of course a number of beer ads.

Seuss had certain ties to the world of brewing even before this time though. His grandfather owned the Kalmbach and Geisel brewery in Springfield, Massachusetts. The locals apparently preferred to refer to it as the “Comeback and Guzzle” brewery. Whatever name it went by, the brewery met its end with the prohibition of alcohol in 1919. Seuss himself got in some trouble during prohibition. While attending Dartmouth College, he was found in possession of alcohol, and forced to refrain from extracurricular activities. It was at this time he began submitting his work to the college’s humor magazine, the Jack-O’-Lantern, under the pen name Dr. Seuss.

So, when prohibition ended, it is no wonder that Seuss put his pen to work for some local breweries. Narragansett Brewing has posted a number of the Seuss ads (most featuring the slogan "Too Good to Miss") on their website, here. One ad, for Narragansett Bock features the Narragansett mascot Chief Gansett riding a goat whose appearance prefigures many future Seussian animals. Schaeffer Beer also employed Seuss to draw up some ads for its Bock beer. They featured a largely identical goats (one of which is mounted on the wall, but still seemingly carefree). If you’re confused as to why the ads feature goats, bock is the German word for a billy goat. Coincidentally, one of the Schaefer Bock ads touts a March 11 release date, just a little more than a week after the artist’s birthday.

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