"Guys under 35 have no memory of the Nasty Narry days when it was swill beer and just love our story and appreciate it on its own merit," he says. "It's those guys in the middle who we have the challenge of convincing that this isn't the Nasty Narry that you may have been stealing from your dad in high school or buying for $9.99 a case when you were in your 20s."
For New York's Rheingold, the problem was that it was born nasty. Founded in Brooklyn in 1883, Rheingold's packaged goods and promotions were once ubiquitous in the Big Apple. It was the official beer of the Mets, the sponsor of the Miss Rheingold pageant, and its truck was in the background when Sonny Corleone put a beating on his brother-in-law in "The Godfather." When it was first revived in the late-'90s after folding in 1976 and had its vat contents emptied into Brooklyn sewers, however, Rheingold tasted as if the original batches had been retrieved from the depths.
It's not that the beer was bad, mind you, but that the owners insisted on using the rye-heavy original recipe that didn't quite translate to modern tastes. That a working-class beer like Rheingold was reintroduced at Williamsburg prices didn't help either. Rheingold's new owner, Drinks Americas (DKAM), plans to reintroduce the reformulated brew in 22-ounce cans next spring. The company, which learned a little something about regional brewing when it successfully launched Kid Rock's American Badass beer in Detroit last summer, says it intends to take Rheingold back to the working-class roots it shares with its regional beer brethren.