Thursday, February 19, 2009

Old School Thursday: Beer & Pop Culture Edition

Today, also known, famously, as National Chocolate Mint Day, is a big one in terms of food and beverage innovation. Lots of foundings and little decisions that actually have big pop culture impact.

First, way back in 1764, a man named Gottlieb Sigismund Kirchhof was born. Kirchhof was something of a foodie renaissance man. Not only did he discover glucose and develop a method to refine vegetable oil, he also experimented with brewing.

Which probably came in handy, nearly 150 years later, when German settlers in China founded the country’s first brewery, Tsingtao (1903). Those Germans really do know how to make a beer, don’t they? When I think of Chinese beer, Tsingtao is what comes to mind.Just three years later, in 1906, American culture was heading away from the drink, and into nutrition, as William Keith Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in Michigan. These days, it’s known as Kellogg’s, and it’s all about cereal. In those days, though, Kellogg was a nutrition pioneer. And I’m pretty sure his philosophy didn’t include a lot of German beer.

Fortunately, in America, the nutrition revolution coincided with a whole lot of junk food – our rebellious nature at work, I’m guessing. In 1913, Cracker Jack began to put prizes in every box, creating a tradition that’s still in place today – and firming up American kids’ sense of entitlement.

And the innovations don’t stop! As recently as 1985, today marks the introduction of Cherry Coke. It’s actually hard for me to believe that Cherry Coke wasn’t available (in can form, at least) until I was 9 – it seems like as much a classic as, well, Classic Coke (which, I realize, was a whole other issue in 1985).

So there it is. A bigger day than most. Have a beer and a Cherry Coke to celebrate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I missed this post. You know that Cherry Coke is ONLY my favorite soda of all time!!!! AKB


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