Jax collectibles & memorabilia

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2015-06-26 11:06:14

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Jax collectibles & memorabilia

Jax is an American brand of beer. Advertising memorabilia  related to the brand is a popular area of breweriana collectibles.

Background

Jax beer was first produced by the Jax Brewing Company in Jacksonville, Florida, from 1913. It was greatly popular in the South-Eastern United states.

After surviving Prohibition, Jax beer was knocked out of the competition by the big international brands like Busch, Pabst and Schlitz, who could pay large sums for advertising across the whole of the US and afford to switch from bottles to cans.

In 1956, the brand was sold to New-Orleans based Jackson Brewing Company, who by chance had also been making a beer called Jax since 1933, and Jax Bock since 1938.

The brand was once again sold on in the 1970s, to the Pearl Brewing Company, San Antonio, who continue to produce it, and market it as a beer loved by Texans.

Advertising campaigns

The Jax logo is simply its name in bold red lettering, or in bold white lettering on a red background. The style of lettering has changed over the years.

Jax beer began to advertise with gusto during the 1940s, when competition from large international brands demonstrated the value of marketing.

A memorable 1940s advert proclaimed: ‘Here’s an old-timer you’ll always remember’, and another described it as ‘The Drink of Friendship’.

They also used television advertising, with cartoon characters who drank Jax beer and jocular bartender characters.

Around this time, Jax beer became renowned for using as many adjectives as possible, often ones that seemed to contradict each other. The beverage was described as various combinations of ‘tangy’ and ‘zestful’, also as ‘smooth’ and ‘mellow’, and ‘fine’, ‘full bodied’ and ‘refreshing’.

The 1950s saw Jax beer use actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge in their adverts. This use of an African American celebrity was something of a milestone in the history of advertising, at a time when prejudice ran riot.

When the rights for Jax passed to the Pearl Brewing Company, they made it from its original recipe, and also retained the label design. They often promote it using its Texan locality, with a cowboy character. A common beer tray features a map of Texas and the words ‘Texas brags’ and a list of items such Smartest Horses, Most Beautiful Women, Mostest Cotton, Most All the Oil, and then states: ‘and Texans drink Jax, best beer in town’.

Collectible items of memorabilia

  • Jax beer belt buckles
  • Vintage Jax beer signs
  • Vintage Jax beer cans
  • Vintage Jax beer ashtrays
  • Jax beer coolers
  • Vintage Jax beer trays
  • Jax lighters
  • Jax beer posters
  • Jax bottle openers
  • Jax advertising figurines
  • Jax clocks

Collecting tips

Because of Jax beer’s wayfaring history, from Florida, to Louisiana, to Texas, and its ownership by three different companies, its advertising history is fascinating to track and collect.

Notable sales

  • A Jax beer aquarium themed lighted sign sold for $2,400 at Kimball M Sterling in 2006
  • A Jax beer steel wall-mount bottle opener, sold for $2,030 at Crescent City Auction Gallery in 2006
  • Circa 1930 Jax beer wood neon sign, sold for $1,400 at Crescent City Auction Gallery in 2006
  • Jax beer advertising regulator clock with pendulum, sold for $1,050 at Neal Auction Company in 2005
  • Dorothy Dandridge Jax beer advertising poster, sold for $650 at Heritage Auctions in 2008
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