Acme Beer? Is that the brand Wile E. Coyote drinks?
This ad from August 12, 1941 shows a winsome lass chatting on the phone with a tall frosty glass of brew.
The back story comes from the website Brewerygems.com.
The brewery was an offshoot of the Olympia Brewing Company of Washington state. Their expansion to California came after the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 destroyed most of the breweries in the city. Unable to duplicate the flavor of the Tumwater, Washington plant, the California brewery produced Acme.
In the 1930s the marketing folks hit on a winning strategy. They targeted the women's market with the tag line "Dietetically Non-Fattening". The fine print, (sometimes very fine print with an asterisk) said "—relatively so, compared to other foods."
So what other foods were they talking about? Ice cream? Cheesecake?
Speaking of cheesecake, the artwork is a step above the usual newspaper illustration. Acme hired now famed pinup artists George Petty and Alberto Vargas for promotional art. Both had worked for Esquire Magazine before stepping out on their own.
The non-fattening claim bubbled over the top with the Federal Trade Commission and the deceptive claims were quashed in the early 1950s. The company then flipped strategies and went after the manly man beer drinker with a brand called Bulldog, "Brewed to a Man's Taste!"
Regional brands could not hold ground against the discounts offered by growing national brands and by 1954 the brewery was sold.
The rights to the Acme brand is now owned by the North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg. The Fulton St. brewery location in San Francisco now is the home of the Center for African and African American Art and Culture.