One of the most interesting aspects of USU’s Becker Brewing and Malting Company records collection is the large amount of original advertising material. In the days before television and highway billboards, companies relied on print media as their main platform for publicity. The Beckers paid many local western newspapers to run ads developed and illustrated by both local and eastern publication companies. In addition to newspaper ads, the Beckers also put their name on calendars, bottle openers, matchboxes, lighters, train cars, buildings, and billboards as a way to spread their brand.

Spirit of the Old West Poster, c. 1933
 Spirit of the Old West poster, c. 1933 [Click image to enlarge.]
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Gustav Lorenz Becker Photograph Collection, P0361 Box 009, Item 001)

It is interesting to note changes and trends in the content of advertisements over several decades. In the early years of Becker’s beer production, for example, there was little regulation on what could be said in advertisement, so the company promoted their product as a nourishing beverage with health benefits for the entire family, including children. Like many other western breweries, Becker’s also tried to associate its beer with classic images of the West, such as cowboys, Native Americans, and fur trappers. Similarly, it was marketed as a beverage to be enjoyed outdoors, with many ads focusing on camping, hunting, and fishing. Patriotic undertones dominated wartime advertising. During World War II, when the company rebranded “Becker’s Best” as “Becker’s American Pilsener,” many ads encouraged customers to purchase war bonds.

Through the brewery’s advertising campaigns, and the family’s frequent appearance in local paper, “Becker” became a household name in Utah. Ogden natives still remember singing along to the Becker jingle on the radio and hearing news of Gus Becker’s latest shooting spectacle. Today, a group of dedicated collectors snatches up anything with the Becker name, from old signs, labels, and ads to bottles, openers, and other collectable antiques. Below are some of the ads used to promote the Becker’s products across the decades.

Becker Ads: 1910s

Becker Ads: 1920s and 1930s

Becker Ads: 1940s