Ballantine collectibles & memorabilia
Ballantine was an American brand of ale and beer. Advertising memorabilia related to the brand is a popular area of breweriana collectibles.Background
Ballantine was an American brewery that was best known for its pale ale, one of the oldest brands of beer in the United States.
It was founded in 1840 in New Jersey by Peter Ballantine. By 1879, it was the sixth largest brewery in the US. Around this time, they introduced a lager beer to expand their product line.
The company was passed down through the family, and onto Peter Ballantine’s granddaughter’s husband George Griswold Frelinghuysen in 1905.
The Badenhausen brothers Carl and Otto acquired the company in 1933, and took it through its most successful period during the 1940s and 1950s, much of this due to intelligent marketing and advertising. Under their ownership, the brand became the third biggest beer in the United States.
The beer declined in popularity during the 1960s, and the brewery closed in 1972.
Beer continues to be produced under the Ballantine name, but not using the original recipe, by the Pabst Brewing Company.
The Ballantine logo is three interlocking rings, similar to a nautical rope pattern. The three rings were labelled, in adverts as symbolising Purity, Body and Flavor. A series of posters pictured characters creating these rings one at a time, a cowboy lassoing the rings, a figure skater skating them onto ice.
Ballantine beer was the first sponsor of the New York Yankees, and did so from the 1940s until the 1960s. The brand greatly utilised the partnership between Ballantine and Baseball in its advertising.
Much of the 1950s-60s advertising used the notion of manliness to sell the beer. They aimed to ‘make an Ale man out for you’, the ale man being ‘a man with a thirst for a manlier brew’. Other adverts pictured two men enjoying glasses of Ballantine with the slogan: ‘That’s Ale, Brother!’.
However, there are also adverts that demonstrate an attempt to gain female drinkers for their lager beer. A 1954 poster shows a happy couple, the woman holding a Ballantine as the man admires her tiny waist, and reads: ‘Ballantine Beer watches your belt-line… with fewer calories than any other leading beer’.
With the introduction of Ballantine lager, posters told buyers to get both in for a party. Many vintage Ballantine beer trays state ‘ale & beer’.
Collectible items of memorabilia
- Vintage Ballantine beer trays
- Vintage Ballantine beer coasters
- Vintage Ballantine beer openers
- Vintage Ballantine beer signs
- Vintage Ballantine beer cans
- Vintage Ballantine beer clocks
- Vintage Ballantine beer tap handles
Variants and other products
- Ballantine Porter
- Ballantine Brown Stout
- Ballantine dark lager
- Ballantine Bock beer
- Ballantine India Pale Ale
- Ballantine Burton Ale
Ballantine is popular among vintage breweriana collectors, particularly as it was such a prominent brand that now no longer exists in its original form. Therefore many people are nostalgic about it.
Ballantine has a strong history of advertising, and therefore advertising collectibles are widely available.
Vintage cans, particularly those for the Bock beer, are prized by collectors.
Ballantine’s Burton Ale was never a commercially sold product. An ale aged 10-20 years in wood prior to bottling, it was given to Ballantine distributors and VIPs. Full unopened bottles have today become collectors’ items. It is disputable whether the drink has aged well since bottling and is still drinkable.
- A vintage Ballantine bock hand flat top beer can, sold for $2,000 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2012.
- Rare large Ballantine ale advertising sign. Sold for $850 at RM Auctions in 2006.
- 1950s Ballantine Ale & Beer three ring neon sign. Sold for $550 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2011.