One of the most notorious marketing failures in the beer industry: Miller's decision to create a beer that not only tasted like water, but looked like it as well. It was an outgrowth of the "clear craze" of the 1980s and 90s (making transparent products because, as wikipedia notes, "clarity was equated with purity and freedom from artificial dyes").
Back in 2016, Paul posted some ads for Sanatogen Tonic Wine from early in the 20th century. Here are some more ads for this fine product, but from later in the century (1960s), in which the marketing team decided to focus on how this medicinal wine was the cure for a housewife's blues. Feeling bored at home, run-down by the kids? No problem, just take a little swig of Sanatogen and you'll be numb to your problems in no time! "That's lovely... that's better"
There's now a more high-tech alternative. The Plum Dispenser is a $1500 gadget that stores several bottles of wine, but dispenses a glass at a time — allowing hotel guests to buy a single glass in their room rather than a whole bottle. It's basically wine on tap. Though the prices aren't cheap:
At La Confidante, the Plum in every room dispenses Evesham Wood pinot noir from Oregon ($5.25 for a 2-ounce glass; 5 oz. for $16) and Justin sauvignon blanc ($4, $12) from Paso Robles.
$16 for 5 ounces of wine? You could go to a local supermarket and buy an entire bottle for that.
This 1919 news report of two railroad employees who drank from a barrel of alcohol, not aware that it was being used to preserve two human skeletons enroute to a medical school, sounds a lot like the "corpse in the cask" urban legend.
The legend, which dates back at least to the nineteenth century, played on the fear of accidental cannibalism. As explained by Jan Harold Brunvand in his Encyclopedia of Urban Legends:
In the legend, an English family discovers a barrelful of rum stored in the basement of an old house they recently purchased. Over the course of a year or two they consume the rum in drinks and cooking; then they cut the barrel in half to use it as a planter. Inside they find the body of a man who had been shipped home from the colonies long ago, preserved in spirits.
In one version of the tale, following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 the body of Lord Nelson was preserved in a barrel of brandy, from which sailors sipped as it made its way back to England, inspiring the expression "tapping the admiral."
They use mesh fog catchers to trap moisture and then blend this with vodka distilled from a California Central Coast wine. They describe the result as "an extraordinarily crisp, pure, and gluten free sipping vodka with elegant hints of pear, citrus, and honeysuckle." The price tag is $125 a bottle.
Perhaps their next effort can be a vodka made from the tears of a hipster.
Drinking alcohol might make the people you're with seem younger, funnier, and more attractive. However, Warner Leisure Hotels has commissioned the first drink that supposedly has an anti-aging effect on the drinker. It's "anti-aging gin," which is being marketed as Anti-Agin.
The gin is described as being "For those that want to do everything they can to stay young, but don’t want to give up alcohol."
The anti-aging effect comes from "classic botanicals known for their rejuvenating properties and combining it with drinkable collagen." It's said to be "the alcoholic equivalent of a facial."
I've heard about people sucking on pennies or mints to hide the alcohol fumes on their breath. But keeping a goat in the back of the car is new to me. Though I guess it could be an effective strategy.
The Bakersfield Californian - Sep 14, 1937
CHICAGO, Sept. 14. — Policeman Theodore Lambert testified that Larry Radkewicz of Berwyn was intoxicated while driving an automobile, but said he could not smell the man's breath.
"Why not?" asked Judge J.M. Braude.
"He had a goat in the back of the car," said Lambert, "and I couldn't smell anything but the goat."
Radkewicz was placed on probation.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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