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  • Writer's pictureHeather Davis

Oktober Means Beer, and a Large Side of Personal Responsibility

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

When researching the connection between personal responsibility and beer, one of the top search results was the link:

Can I Sue a Bar if I Get a DUI in LA?

Of course, it was.

Give me a break. How about leaving the bar alone and suing your parents for malpractice instead?

If you only got the DUI and survived to try to hold someone else accountable, consider yourself lucky.

It helps to learn the lesson while it’s still relatively painless. Because if you don’t, the stakes get higher. Before ingesting and imbibing, and while we are are still in our right minds, let’s make the plan so there’s no possible way we’re driving (or even riding) if there’s possible intoxication.

The person getting their party on later on should not be making that decision. The singular goal: get home alive tonight and not prevent anyone else from doing the same.

That said, Happy Oktoberfest!

The famous beer festival and fair has been held in Munich, Germany since 1810 – minus a few brief hiatuses for world wars and such. Nowadays, six million people attend the 2-week Bavarian festival and Oktoberfest celebrations can be found all over the world including in China, India and Vietnam.

The two century-old tradition is the reason that October and beer go hand in hand.

Closer to home is the storied history of one beer company: ACME Brewery.

Founded in 1907, the San Francisco-based brewer was a big advertiser.

Already the owner of Olympia Brewing Company, founder Leopold Schmidt sought to use marketing slogans like: “A Healthful Beverage for the Home” and “Good Old ACME – pleasing to the taste – ideal for digestion – cheering to the spirit” to help distance beer from liquor as the prohibition movement gained momentum in the early twentieth century.

It didn’t work. Unable to sell beer as healthy rather than an intoxicant, 1920 brought the 18th Amendment and the prohibition of all alcohol, including beer.

That doesn’t mean a solid Plan B wasn’t also in the works. Just eight days before Prohibition went into effect, a group of brewers reorganized as a cereal products company and over the thirteen dry years that followed, produced cereal malt syrup, yeast, vinegar and even ice cream.

Upon repeal in 1933, ACME got back to the beer business seriously and stepped up newspaper, radio and billboard advertising campaigns that ultimately paid off with ACME being the West’s most popular brand of beer.

New slogans designed to capture the untapped women’s market teetered on the edge of deceptive. Falsely claiming to be fat-free, the FTC had the company in its sights but not before ACME had already seized almost half of the beer market in California. In 1935, they expanded operations to Los Angeles.

ACME was one of the first companies to can their beer. In 1939, the can was redesigned to match the bottles with the introduction of ACME’s ‘Stein-girl’.

It is she that I found as a buried treasure in the backyard of my 1928 L.A. home. Rusty and buried for at least 60 years, Vintage ACME Beer is a little time capsule – perhaps once enjoyed by a former homeowner on a beautiful summer day in the 40’s.

Towards the late forties however, things were a little less sunny for the beer-maker.

In a cost-saving move during WWII, the ACME brew master swapped ingredients in what turned out to be a fatal move. Troops stationed in the Pacific, lacking the ability to chill the beer found it ill-tasting and “skunky”.

When the war ended, returning men were clear when placing their tavern orders:

I’ll take a beer – anything but ACME.

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