Schlossbräu Hoyerswerda Bierdeckel
I find these fascinating (including the Beer ads to follow). East Germany did not have the raw materials to produce many Finished Consumer goods - but it did have the ability to make Beer. This might explain particular disproportionate distributions of various food stuffs in cities and rural districts (for example, small towns that could not get basic daily food staples but whose local stores could get alcohol without difficulty).
Beyond simple issues of supply shortages, however, is the cultural element these ads (and their products) played. Certainly, beer has a long standing traditional cultural role in Germany—and yet this is not a universally homogeneous beer culture throughout Germany: there were regional variations in types of beer consumed, brands, and of course, volume of consumption. When Germany was divided, traditional East-West trade routes were suddenly cut off, and so was access to the breweries of the Western German Länder.
The GDR had its own breweries (as evidenced here), of course, and what’s interesting is how they presented these products to East Germans. ”Seit 1680” (Since 1680) speaks to a much longer historical tradition, to a very long cultural continuity, that noticeably stretches well beyond the Third Reich, Weimar, Imperial periods, back to the age of the Holy Roman Empire. To me, what’s interesting here is the use of that ‘reaching back to a long distant past’ to create a label - a brand - that harkens to older, uniquely ‘German’ traditions, yet all the while doing so under State Socialism. My point: ads, and labels, and consumer goods such as these played a vital role in the recasting of identities in the GDR, that of fostering appropriate ‘socialist aesthetics’, and yet they did so in ways that seem to have encouraged the association with this socialist aesthetic of a specifically ‘German’ cultural aesthetic and meaning. Fascinating stuff!