Monday, 13 May 2013
Old Beer Ads #5 - Stones Bitter (1983)
Stones Bitter was a regular canned mainstay of my childhood years. Every Christmas, my nan would stock up the cupboard below the drinks cabinets with it (and Woodpecker cider). The only person I ever saw drinking it was Uncle John. And he only ever had a couple on Boxing Day. I presume it was the cheapest at the shop my grandparents went to.
For some reason, Stones was the most popular bitter in the country at one point. Bass pushed it in a major way with this long-running ad campaign in the 80s. Two (presumably from Sheffield) blokes wandered around the world, and found Stones Bitter in unlikely places. And here is possibly the unlikeliest of all - Egypt. Perhaps the market for golden English bitters was better in Islamic countries back in 1983. Who knows?
One of the aforementioned blokes was Bernard Hill, who did these ads to pay whatever bills he had until he became famous enough not to need to do these things. After that, Michael Angelis took his place for the rest of the run, as he tends to when more famous Liverpudlians think such populism is beneath them.
Bass themselves came to the opinion that such things were beneath them too. The adverts were pulled in 1991 and marketing support for Stones was withdrawn throughout the decade and the brewery in Sheffield was shut in 1999. The beers were contracted out to John Smiths (keg & can) and Everards (cask). Etc etc. Stop me if you've heard this kind of thing before.
Does anyone drink canned bitter any more? It must be years since I've seen that blindingly obvious orange Stones can emptily blowing round the town centre streets.