The Best Beer Commercials of the 80s – Ranked

Welcome to The Rabbit Hole

Late fall and early winter can be a rough time for flyfishers in the Northwest. The winter steelhead aren’t in yet, trout season is winding down and the rivers are all pretty much blown anyways; for many, that means it’s time to complete all those tasks that have been put off since the opener, spend some quality time with the family or perhaps even engage in less masochistic hobbies.

But for those in need of a suggestion on how to pass the time until the fishing is more plentiful and less uncomfortable, I’d like to offer a suggestion: vaguely-fishing-related Youtube rabbit holes. Bear with me here.

One such rabbit hole recently led me to this super official TFFJ ranked list of the best old-school beer commercials on Youtube. This may not seem entirely relevant to fishing, but I assure you it is — this particular Youtube tangent started with this list’s third-ranked Stroh’s video, and you can see for yourself how things went from there.

I hope you enjoy this ride down the beer commercial black hole — if you end up 14 minutes into a 45-minute video about synthesizers like I did, then it’s probably time to snap out of it and crawl your way back to reality, dig out the vice, or seek help. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  1. Schlitz:

The bull at the end seems a little off-topic, but we won’t let that undermine the fact that this is probably the coolest beer commercial that has ever existed. Those moves, those precariously unbuttoned shirts, that funk, frickin’ KOOL AND THE GANG— this is pure gold. My completely arbitrary scoring criteria gives this a 10/10.

  1. Olympia:

Olympia had the best beer commercials of the 80s. I will fight anyone that says otherwise. And by best, I mean borderline tasteful compared to their comically-80s counterparts (see below). I have many reasons that I’m grateful I didn’t grow up in the decade of shoulder pads, but dammit if I didn’t feel a tinge of FOMO for not being around for this cheerful homage to artesian water and cheap beer.

  1. Stroh’s:

Nothing says Saturdays are for the boys quite like fist pumps, a river-chilled six-pack in your hip waders and a triple-decker fishing boat. This might seem like top-dog material, but watch it five to six more times and that stupid jingle that only the 80s could come up with will eventually become more maddeningly bad than hilariously good.

  1. Old Milwaukee:

This one (which is also featured up above) is an obvious shoo-in — but still cringe worthy in its own beautiful ways. That hail Mary net job, for example, or all those bright, smiling, I’m-getting-paid-to-look-like-I’m-having-the-time-of-my-life faces. Then there’s the trifecta of limp wrists at the beginning. Critique aside, everyone knows fishing and beer are a match made in advertising heaven, especially the people who have been hawking six-packs for the past 50 years, and this was at least the most relevant (and relatable) video to make this list.

  1. Schaefer Beer:

Ready or not…SYNTHESIZER OVERLOAD. A lot of things make for a good beer commercial — fishing, Canadian accents, people singing at the bar — and this Schaefer spot has exactly none of these things going on. In fact, I wasn’t wholly convinced this was even a beer commercial until he cracks a cold one 40 seconds into the bit. He’s also surrounded, presumably, by thousands of dollars of synthesizers, and I don’t fully understand how a beer fits into this whole scene. Seems irresponsible. In fact, I really only included this one because I dig his polyester shirt and Grandpa glasses.

  1. Colt 45:

I have no idea what is going on here, and this isn’t even from the 80s. But I’m inclined to share it anyways because I’m positive that anyone who grew up in the 90s can somehow sing every word of that Afroman song about Colt 45 despite having never actually learned the lyrics. (You can’t say I didn’t warn you about illogical scoring.)

“Colt 45 and two zig zags, baby that’s all we need.”


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