If people don't know you're back, are you really "back"?
This has been the main issue with the great Rheingold revival of the past decade or so. Rheingold's original incarnation stretched from 1883 through 1976 and was a staple of the New York metropolitan area.It sponsored Nat King Cole's television show. It hosted the Miss Rheingold pageant each year through the '40s and '50s and featured the winner in its ads. For many years, it also served as the official beer of the New York Mets. And it had a cameo in The Godfather when a Rheingold truck pulls into view just as James Caan's Sonny Corleone starts beating his abusive brother-in-law into the gutter. Rheingold faded from view until 1998, when a small business concern bought the brand and relaunched it with an eye toward the tattooed young creative folk who were just starting to populate the beer's old home in Brooklyn. They brought back Miss Rheingold complete with Brooklyn-approved piercings and tattoos and all seemed right with the world. Until it wasn't. Drinks Americas (DKAM) bought the brand in 2005 and threw it into a stable that included Donald Trump's self-branded vodka line, Dr. Dre cognac and other novelty liquors. They expanded Rheingold's reach beyond the New York area, put the beer in retro cans and teamed with The Lion Brewery in Scranton, Pa., on production. Rheingold news has slowed to a trickle in recent years, though, as Drinks Americas focuses on its Rio Bravo Mexican craft beers and a "consumer beverage consulting" division. Rheingold's website, meanwhile, has started looking a bit retro in its own right. Rheingold's here, but it's tough to call it "back."