Photo gallery: Weird and wonderful beer adverts archived in Raveningham

The colour of a label, a particular image or simple phrase can all conjure up the image of a brand of beer today.

A black label, the sight of a surfer riding horse-like waves or the words 'probably the best' can identify a particular pint, yet more than half a century ago a drinker could go to a pump and there would be no name adorning it.

Beer mats, labels and widespread advertising campaigns have altered that, and now researchers in Norfolk can appreciate just how times changed.

The History of Advertising Trust (Hat), in Raveningham, has been given a collection of beer advertising spanning more than 80 years by the Brewery History Society.

The development of bottle and can labels, posters, pump clips, beer mats and press advertising can all be traced at the trust's centre, thanks to a donation from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling's Grants Committee.

Researchers can see how the industry evolved, with family breweries growing into national companies, the popularity of microbreweries, and the creation and development of marketing brands in the 1950s and 1960s.

This includes the development of the Watneys red barrel and how this developed into a distinctive calling card for the brand.

Most Read

Mike Brown, archivist for the Brewery History Society, said: 'It shows how advertising has changed. It is not just people collecting beer labels, this shows how advertising took off.

'For example, the 1930 Beer Society's Beer is Best campaign – a campaign you could not think of running these days.'

There are also lots of examples of celebrities becoming involved in the advertising process, including footballers in the 1960s and 1970s.

World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore is shown in an advert in the Guardian and Times in 1967 trying to encourage people to go to their local pub, while Norwich City's Ted MacDougall is in a poster advertising William Younger's Tartan in the 1970s.

Chloe Veale, archive and library collections manager at Hat, said they also had big agency collections.

She said: 'They reflect campaigns chronologically, to see how they have developed.

'It is not just one advert, but you can see how they have developed a campaign through the artwork.'

She added: 'Brewers have created some of the most memorable advertising for over a century and this wonderful material will enable researchers to study how beer brands have become part of our national heritage.'

The Brewery History Society's archive began with a few books in Epsom library more than 20 years ago.

As it grew it moved to Wiltshire and then to Birmingham Library, before they were asked to move.

Books, photos and a range of other materials have been dispersed to Oxford and Warwick, but now all of the marketing items have a home as part of the largest archive collection of British advertising.

Jeff Sechiari, chairman of the Brewery History Society, said: 'We are absolutely delighted. We needed a home and this is more than ideal as it puts it in context with the wider advertising set up.'

The Institute of Brewing & Distilling provided the funding, with further support from a range of breweries including Adnams, of Southwold, and St Peter's Brewery, near Bungay.

Yesterday the Brewery History Society toured the new archive and dedicated it to their former president Geoffrey Ballard.

Researchers are able to book an appointment to view the material by emailing or calling 01508 548623.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter