Selling beer to Indians is a controversial business, as shown by the recent federal lawsuit filed against the state of Nebraska by the Oglala Lakotas of Pine Ridge over sales of alcohol in Whiteclay, Nebraska. But what about selling beer with Indians? Using Indian imagery to sell beer? As with many American products, from grocery-store produce to motorcycles, American Indian names and likenesses have been used as brand names and logos. But it's possible that no industry has used Native American imagery as much as the beer trade. Here are 29 instances of brewing companies that have branded their beers with Indian imagery.
Adanac Old Ale
Brewed by: Adanac Brewing Co., Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Brewed by: Calumet Brewing Co., Calumet, MI
Slogan: "Pure and without drugs or poison"
Carling's White Eagle
Brewed by: Carling Breweries Limited, London, Ontario, Canada
• This is the same Carling company that makes Black Label and a host of other beers sold around the world.
Brewed by: Oshkosh Brewing Co., Oshkosh, WI
Slogan: "Call of the North"
• The original Chief Oshkosh ceased production in 1972. A later product, Chief Oshkosh Red Lager, was produced from 1991-94 by a different company.
Crazy Horse Malt Liquor
Brewed by: Crazy Horse Brewing Co., Lake Success, NY
Slogan: This strange text was printed on the back of the bottle: "The Montana Hills, steeped in the history of the American West, home of Proud Indian Nations. A land where imagination conjures up images of blue clad pony soldiers and magnificent Native American Warriors. A land still rutted with wagon tracks of intrepid pioneers. A land of character, and tradition. A land that truly speaks of the spirit that is America."
• After a legal struggle, the brand was shut down and reintroduced as Crazy Stallion, with packaging that was all about horses.
Brewed by: Cronmiller & White Brewing Co., Welland, Ontario, Canada
Slogan: "Old and Matured"
Brewed by: Indian Joe Beer
Slogan: "Chief of them all"
• Indian Joe is "pushing the boundaries of flavor" according to indianjoebeer.com — or at least will be, once it's launched.
Brewed by: John Hohenadel Brewery, Philadelphia, PA
Slogan: "Well earned supremacy"
Indian River Light
Brewed by: Heartland Brewery, New York, NY
• "With accents of fresh orange, this refreshing, light pale ale is clean and smooth. A subtle hint of coriander enhances the crisp finish," according to heartlandbrewery.com.
Brewed by: Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma Brewery, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
• Original name for the beer was Cerveza Cuauhtémoc, but because of the Indian on the label, customers simply called it Indio, which the company later made the official name.
Brewed by: Iroquois Beverage Corp., Buffalo, NY (later International Breweries, Inc.)
Slogan: "A zestful beverage made from choicest malt, selected hops and grains" "Famous brew since 1842"
• For a time, the company also made Tomahawk Ale.
Kakabeka Cream Lager
Brewed by: Kakabeka Falls Brewing Co., Ft. William, Ontario, Canada
Koff Indian Beer
Brewed by: Sinebrychoff, Kerava, Finland
• Possibly also known as "Koff's Wild Indian Corn Beer." Made with corn syrup, 4.4% alcohol. Koff remains one of the largest beer brands in Finland, but this product has been discontinued.
Leinenkugel's Chippewa Pride
Brewed by: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, WI
Slogan: "Made with Chippewa water from the Big Eddy Springs"
Muenchener Pure Malt Lager
Brewed by: Prospect Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA
Brewed by: Narragansett Brewing Co., Cranston, RI
• Narragansett didn't feature an Indian on its cans or bottles, but for a time had an advertising campaign fronted by "Chief 'Gansett," drawn by Theodore Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss.
Brewed by: Coop Ale Works, Oklahoma City, OK
• "A perfect blend of hops and malt. Caramel and biscuit notes carry the Cascade and Cluster hop additions through to a wonderfully round finish. Native Amber is assertive, yet balanced." Those are the actual tasting notes from coopaleworks.com
Brewed by: Old Indian Brewing Co., Indiana, PA
Slogan: "Brewed with Old Indian Spring water"
Brewed by: Crescent Brewing Co., Marionville, MO
Slogan: "Chief of Quality"
Pawnee Dark Beer
Brewed by: Columbus Brewing Co., Columbus, NE
Rose Bud Lager
Brewed by: Harold C. Johnson Brewing Co., Lomira, WI
• Though the beer is long, long gone, model reefer cars bearing the logo are still produced and remain a popular accessory for model railroad enthusiasts.
Saskatoon and Big Chief
Brewed by: Saskatoon Brewing Co., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
• Saskatoon Brewing Co. was absorbed by Labatt's in 1960.
Brewed by: Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., St. Paul, MN
Slogan: "The brew that grew with the great Northwest"
• This was just one of many of Schmidt's "scenic" beer can designs, all of which featured outdoor scenes painted by wildlife artist Les Kouba.
Brewed by: Americana Brewing Company, Fort Lauderdale (or thereabouts) FL
Slogan: "This beer is in honor of those who call themselves Renegades! From American Revolutionaries, Indians who stood their ground, to hippies of the 60’s, to the Tea partiers of today, This is for that Renegade in all of us."
• This beer may not yet be in production — americanabrewery.com describes the company as a "startup." The figure on the label is known as a kokopelli, and is associated with the tribes of the Southwest such as the Hopi and Zuni.
Brewed by: Glen Brewing Co., Watkins Glen, NY
• Label depicts Red Jacket (c. 1750–January 20, 1830), a celebrated orator and chief of the Wolf Clan.
Brewed by: Tecumseh Brewing Co., Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
• The beer and the town where it was brewed were named for Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813), a Shawnee leader who headed a tribal confederacy that fought the United States in the War of 1812 and Tecumseh's War.
Walter's Indian Head
Brewed by: Walter Brewing Co., Eau Claire, WI
Brewed by: Sioux City Brewing Company, Sioux City, IA
Yough Cream Ale
Brewed by: Yough Brewing Company, Connellsville, PA
We think this is a pretty comprehensive collection — but let us know if there are any we've missed by leaving a comment below.