Author Topic: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?  (Read 7697 times)

thelakelander

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The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« on: September 12, 2010, 07:09:49 PM »
While researching the TU archives for a few stories I'm working on, I came across this 1996 article about Jax Beer.  The article claims that Jax Beer was the first company to sell and market a "six pack."

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Jax Beer: The Old Milwaukee of another era in Jacksonville

The Florida Times-Union - Saturday, June 1, 1996
Author: Bill Foley, Times-Union staff writer


Consumer Reports magazine says this month the best-tasting mass-market beer sampled by 17 qualified beer-tasters is Old Milwaukee, a second-tier suds precisely in the spirit of the beer that made Jacksonville famous.

Old Milwaukee was picked over such stalwarts as Budweiser and Miller, as well as a host of cutesy brews for people in short pants. Its victory recalls the dominance enjoyed by Jax Beer in the heyday of the Southern honky-tonk.

Between the repeal of Prohibition and the year I got out of high school, Jax Beer was as much a part of the Southern saloon as punchboards and pig's feet.

In such major markets as Long's Bar, Friendly Billiards and the Toot and Tellum, Jax regularly prevailed over Bud, Blatz, Pabst and other quality brew worthy of white socks.

It was a favorite in Jacksonville partly because of its name, which was emblazoned in neon lights and screen-door stencils wherever the eye would roam. But mostly because it was cheap, usually about a nickel cheaper than the "major" brands.

Jax Beer cost in the year of its demise, as I recall, 20 cents, or, in the calibration of the true beer drinker, five for a dollar.

Like Old Milwaukee, Jax was a kind of beer you didn't mind spilling, which if you play enough 9-Ball and listen to enough hillbilly music in the course of an evening, you are bound to do.

Jax was a beer of the common man and the woman who smoked menthols, of the bon-vivant in a blue collar and the siren in Evening in Paris.

Jax Beer was a holdover from the horse-racing meets at Moncrief racetrack circa 1910-11.

The track drew stalwarts of the Sporting Life from all over America. With them came William Ostner, a brewmaster from St. Louis.

Ostner opened a brewery on West 16th Street, but the racetrack soon closed, a victim of public outrage, fire and the Florida Legislature. Prohibition followed. The brewery became the Jax Cold Storage Co. After repeal, Ostner's sons, J.F. and W.A. Ostner, went back in the beer business.

Between 1933 and 1956, the ubiquitous Jax Beer label and its trademark cockatoo proclaimed Jacksonville to the South. For many, other than those deeply into naval stores and Swisher cigars , Jax Beer was Jacksonville.

Awkwardly, Jacksonville's Jax Beer was not the only Jax Beer. Another Jax Beer was made in New Orleans. It was made by the Jackson Brewing Co., which took its name from Jackson Square.

The rival breweries split the South; Jacksonville's Jax Beer was sold east of Mobile, Ala., New Orleans' Jax Beer west of Mobile. There was plenty of thirst to go around.

When the Ostners stopped making beer in Jacksonville, the right to the Jax name went to the New Orleans company, which eventually passed it on to the Pearl Brewing Co. of San Antonio, Texas.

One residual contribution to society made by Jax Beer was the arguable invention of the six-pack. When disposable bottles became common after World War II, the Ostners bought 100,000 durable sacks from Towers Hardware, emblazoned Jax Beer on them and sold beer six to a sack. The idea caught on and the rest is history.

J.F. Ostner said 20 years ago that World War II and the disposable container pretty much did in Jax and other regional beers.

"The boys got back from somewhere they hadn't been before, and that's when the nationals began to take over. Then cans came in and the national companies could absorb the cost of cans -- the cans cost more than the product -- by charging them off to freight."

Sounds reasonable, but personally I think the decline of punchboards and pig's feet had something to do with it, too.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

billy

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 07:11:30 PM »
what has happened to old building recently

thelakelander

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 07:12:35 PM »







The former Jax Beer brewing complex on West 16th Street.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 07:13:45 PM »
what has happened to old building recently

As far as I know, it's still standing on West 6th Street.  I believe several small companies lease space within the complex.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

ChriswUfGator

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 08:06:51 PM »
Oh the 6-pack was invented in Jacksonville eh? What a shock...  ::)


stjr

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 10:19:28 PM »
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When the Ostners stopped making beer in Jacksonville, the right to the Jax name went to the New Orleans company, which eventually passed it on to the Pearl Brewing Co. of San Antonio, Texas.

So, who owns the Jax Beer name today?  It appears it would be Pabst.  See Wikipedia quote below.  Time for a comeback?  ;)

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The Pearl Brewing Company (also known as the Pearl Brewery or just Pearl) was an American brewery, established in 1883 in San Antonio, Texas. In 1985, Pearl's parent company purchased the Pabst Brewing Company and assumed the Pabst name. In 1999, the Pabst Brewing Company began transferring its production to Miller Brewing, on a contract basis, and closing all of its breweries. Pearl beer is still in production at Miller's Ft. Worth, Texas facility, but the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio was closed in 2001.[1]  Since then, the former brewery was purchased by Silver Ventures, Inc., which has made the property the crown jewel in revitalization efforts of northern downtown San Antonio.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Brewing_Company

And, what of Pabst?


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Pabst Brewing Company is an American company that dates its origins to a brewing company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best and by 1889 named after Frederick Pabst. It is currently the holding company contracting for the brewing of over two dozen brands of beer and malt liquor from defunct companies including G. Heileman Brewing Company, Lone Star Brewing Company, Pearl Brewing Company, Piels Bros., National Brewing Company, Primero Brewing & Malting Company, Rainier Brewing Company, F & M Schaefer Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, and Stroh Brewery Company.[1]

The company is also responsible for the brewing of Ice Man Malt Liquor, St. Ides High Gravity Malt Liquor, and retail versions of beers from McSorley's Old Ale House and Southampton Publick House (of Southampton, New York).[1]

Pabst is headquartered in Woodridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb,[2] and is owned by C. Dean Metropoulos.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 11:34:23 PM by stjr »
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

PeeJayEss

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Re: The Six Pack invented in Jacksonville?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 01:45:42 PM »
Quote
as well as a host of cutesy brews for people in short pants.

what an asshole.

interesting read though. I was wondering why NO has a big Jax Beer sign.