Malt liquor has been available for decades, but the advent of the 40-ounce bottle in the early ‘80s saw a boom in the beer-adjacent category. While the 40-ounce is considered something of a relic in this day and age, back then, it became a part of a culture — whether or not that culture really wanted it in the first place.
Before influencers there were… well, celebrities. And before rappers were rhyming the praises of Dom Pérignon, Hennessy, and Patrón, they were rapping about St. Ides malt liquor, but it wasn’t because they necessarily loved the stuff. Rather, as is the case with any celebrity endorsement deal, they were getting paid to do so.
St. Ides malt liquor first arrived on store shelves in 1987, but it wasn’t until the brand’s parent company hired the iconic DJ Pooh that it began to take off. And when it did, sales certainly followed, but so did the controversy and lawsuits (courtesy of public health officials and rapper Chuck D) that would eventually bring St. Ides’ breakout celeb-endorsed project to an end.
Joining “Taplines” today is Jacinta Howard, a veteran culture and music writer and editor in Atlanta, to talk about a very specific, very special, and very star-studded sponcon series that hit the airwaves back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, long before “sponsored content” was even a thing. Tune in for more.