In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many breweries produced low-alcohol “tonics” or “malt extracts” designed to take advantage of the the food value of beer. Their health benefits were touted by the manufacturers and they were sold in drug stores. Anheuser-Busch produced various pharmaceutical products in the late 1800s and early 1900s, notably Malt-Nutrine, whose principal ingredients were barley malt and hops; it contained less than 1.9% alcohol and 14.5% solids. Anheuser-Busch ran an extensive advertising campaign, primarily in magazines, but also including several wall hangings for display in doctors’ offices. An advertisement appearing in 1903 proclaimed, “When food fails of its purpose, with consequent poverty of blood and energy, Anheuser-Busch’s Malt-Nutrine is a sure and positive correction. It aids digestion and is in itself a food in liquid form. All druggists sell it.” During Prohibition, which banned alcoholic beverages in the U.S., Malt-Nutrine’s formula had to be changed to reduce the alcoholic content to under a half-percent. This changed the taste and sales declined. The product was finally discontinued in 1942 due to poor sales, and the company focused its efforts on Budweiser beer, which it still produces, along with such brands as Michelob.
Description printed on verso, as issued:
“This little picture, which we hope you will find suitable for hanging in your office or reception room, is one of a series that we will from time to time send to the medical profession of the United States.
You will observe the picture has no name. ‘Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before’ has been suggested as a title. What would you suggest? To the doctor who first gives the most appropriate title we will pay two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) in gold. Prize will be awarded Sept. 1, 1915. Answers will be duly acknowledged and the name of the winner of the contest as well as the title selected will be mailed to each contestant. Address, Dr. Stork, Malt Nutrine Department, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Mo.”
Condition: Generally very good with usual wear comprising minor abrasions, wear, scratches, dings, toning, soiling.
“Anheuser-Busch Trivia.” Anheuser-Busch. 2002. http://www.anheuser-busch.com/trivia/answer3_27_02.html (19 March 2003).
Lockhart, Bill. “Bottles on the Border: The History and Bottles of the Soft Drink Industry in El Paso, Texas, 1881-2000.” New Mexico State University. 25 February 2001. http://alamo.nmsu.edu/~lockhart/EPSodas/Chapter6/6b/chap6b.html (19 March 2003).
Weide, C.A. “10/17/1903 Ad.” 3 September 2001. http://www.cweide.freeservers.com/cgi-bin/i/ad_m101703.jpg (19 March 2003).