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- Garrison Hilliard
May 19, 2009, 10:58 pm
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Burger Classic beer, an iconic Cincinnati brand once a staple of Reds
broadcasts, is being re-launched May 29 appropriately with a special event at
the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame & Museum adjacent to Great American Ball Park.
Greg Hardman, whose Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. has assembled a variety of
Cincinnati brands with the goal of eventually brewing them locally, said Burger,
one of the first beers sold in cans, is well known nationally because of its
long association with Cincinnati Reds on radio and TV.
"I get e-mails every day asking when are we bringing Burger back," said Hardman.
"A lot come from adults who remember their parents drinking Burger."
Burger Classic and Burger Light, will again be available only in cans, sold in
six- and 12-packs throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, initially. The
suggested price is $5.99 for a 12-pack. The classic American pilsner, brewed in
Lacrosse, Wis., will be available across the upper Midwest in the coming months,
Burger, which hasn't been produced since 2006, once had distribution in almost
every market east of Denver because of its long association with the Reds on
WLW, said Paul Abrams, a local beer can collector and former marketing manager
at Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co., which acquired Burger in 1973.
Famed Reds radio broadcaster Waite Hoyt peppered his broadcasts with frequent
plugs for Burger and dubbed the sun deck at Crosley Field as "Burgerville."
Burger also was one of just a handful of canned beers the Army shipped to troops
in World War II in olive-drab cans.
The Reds connection was a "Catch-22" for Burger, said Abrams. As it faced
increased national competition in the late 1960s, it couldn't afford sponsoring
Reds' broadcasts and that accelerated the brand's decline.
To re-launch the brand, Hardman, whose Christian Moerlein acquired the
Hudepohl-Schoenling brands in 2006, will hold a celebration at the Reds Hall of
Fame from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on May 29 as part of its salute to Crosley Field.
For $10 admission to the hall, fans can tour the exhibit, watch the TV broadcast
of the Reds game from Milwaukee in the "Palace of the Fans" theater, and buy
Burger and Burger Light and Great American Ball Park hot dogs. The first 600
will receive commemorative Burger Classic T-shirts.