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“That champagne velvety taste, So shmoooth!”
— Champagne Velvet Beer radio commercial, 1940s-1950s
If you listen to old-time radio shows, and if the person posting them leaves the ads in, you will eventually run across this ad from a mid-sized regional brewer in Terre Haute, IN. The brand survived Prohibition, then faltered in the great brewery consolidation era, eventually reformulating as a high-alcohol malt liquor before failing and then having their brand revived as a retro-craft beer by Upland Brewing. The ad pitchman’s delivery of the “so shmoooth” line in a slightly nasal tone, with smooth changed to a drawn out shhmoooth, produced a great earworm … which came back to mind when I saw a Korean beer in my local Korean supermarket.
I had a passing and somewhat contemptuous familiarity with OB, the biggest Korean beer brand. It belongs in the same class as Rainer and Rolling Rock, if those mean anything to you. I mean bottom shelf, best tucked behind some Miller Lite.
But, what was this Kloud? I was intrigued by the name and the can, with a price around that of Coors or Budweiser meaning that I could satisfy my impulsive curiosity without much conflict with my inner skinflint. Notice the beer’s name is rendered in a gothic style, suggesting German roots. Of course, this is strictly true, as most beers, outside of the old British Empire, reflect the 19th Century surge of German business and emigration around the world.
What struck me about Kloud is the claim on the can: “Enjoy Rich & Smooth Foam.” As my eyes scanned over that phrase, my mind accessed the old pitchman’s voice “shmoooth!” A bit of research revealed that the Champagne Velvet advertising pitch was a mid-century departure from CV’s classic line “the beer with the million dollar flavor,” a claim based on their marketing decision to insure the recipe for one million dollars. That early tag line has been revived by the current brewery, but would never have triggered this bit of word and sound association. What bits of old ads pop up in your mind?
Oh, what about the taste you ask? Kloud is a serviceable brew, perhaps fitting in the Coors “Banquet Beer” range.Published in