IPA: a Pretty Romance (Part II)

In Part I, I discussed a rather prescient marketing campaign by Paterson Brewing & Malting Co. in Paterson, NJ in 1916-1917. The company was part of an 1890s consolidation of five local breweries bought out by an English syndicate, a common “exit” technique for brewery owners then.

The adjacent Hinchliffe and Katz Bros. breweries, the main elements in the consolidated group, continued to make top-fermented beers. The syndicate ran sophisticated ads (source: Fulton Historical newspapers) touting the “romance” of Hinchliffe’s East India Pale Ale, modern beer writer-style.

This was two generations before anyone looked at India Pale Ale, or other beer styles, in quite the same way.

While Hinchliffe had brewed both ales and lagers before joining the syndicate, I’d infer a push was made for product lines familiar to the new owners.

The campaign was different than earlier promotions I’ve seen for IPA or pale ale including by Peter Ballantine in Newark, NJ. It relied, not just on vague appeals to old-time standards or special taste, but on an evocative illustration of a male server wearing Indian dress to help sell the beer.

This is analogous to Indianmen (fast trading ships) and related imagery such as the Taj Mahal appearing on IPA labels many decades later, by Ballantine and then a new generation of small brewers. It was all to the end of creating a mystique around IPA, but Paterson Brewing & Malting sought to devise one 60 years earlier.

One wonders if Falstaff’s designer for the 1980s “clipper” label had a file of early-1900s IPA ads from Hinchliffe before him. It’s not fanciful. Ballantine had New Jersey roots…

Beer writer Michael Jackson, who created plenty of mystery and allure for Imperial stout, lambic, and other styles, missed the boat, shall we say, for IPA. (We’ll forgive him, he did enough!).

Since his day, authors and bloggers have been alert to sort out the implications of IPA’s India pedigree – historical, marketing/commercial, technical – one that intertwines two land masses and cultures. These include Pete Brown, Martyn Cornell, and Roger Protz.

Considerable information is available online on Paterson Brewing & Malting, so I’ll say only that all brewing apparently ended forever with the Volstead law’s full application in 1920.

Malting continued for decades after 1933, however, at the maltings attached to the closed Hinchliffe brewery, a story unto itself.

Here, I’ll focus on a second Indian server ad in the 1916-1917 “romance” campaign, worded differently than the first I’ve discussed, but it has the same illustration of a head-scarved, robed server.

It is notable due to the features of IPA production detailed. Two years’ aging was asserted, longer than Ballantine ever advertised, and dry-hopping at different intervals. The nutty flavour and “tang” mentioned may be (it’s hard to say) a touch of oxidation and Brettanomyces influence.

A secondary fermentation seems implied certainly from the wording, which suggests the development of special flavours of maturity, to use the old terminology.

Broadly, both ads attest to one company’s determined effort to preserve its legacy of making stock ale, the best quality of many types of ale still made at the start of WW I by many brewers, especially in the Northeast.

It was all for nought, not necessarily due to ever-increasing lager demand, but the iron curtain on beer manufacture dropped by National Prohibition a couple of years later.

And so, this brave ad appeared in 1916 in the Paterson Evening News, see issue here (via again Fulton Historical Newspapers).