Is There Any Billy Beer Left In South Dakota?
Was there ever a Billy Beer Barbie? If not there should have been. Do you remember back when Jimmy Carter was president from 1977 – 1981? Jimmy was the 39th president of the United States.
President Carter had a kind of black sheep little brother named Billy. The press at the time used to enjoy interviewing little brother Billy Carter.
In 1977 the failing Louisville, Kentucky-based Falls City brewery contacted the nation's “Professional Redneck” Billy Carter to see if he wanted to put his name on what would be his own beer brand.
And like any respectable hard-drinking redneck Billy Carter said fer sur. In exchange for $50,000 a year Falls City Brewing got the right to market and sell “Billy Beer”.
Billy excitedly exclaimed at the time, “Maybe I'll become the Colonel Sanders of beer.” Or maybe not. Turns out that Billy Beer wasn't well-received by about everyone, including Billy himself who once joked that the taste of Billy Beer is the reason he quit drinking. He even commented to reporters that he still preferred Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
One person commented on Collectors Weekly about his recollection of the brew: “I used to work for a beer distributor and we sold Billy Beer that was put out by The Pearl Brewing Company out of San Antonio. We also had the pleasure of selling J R Beer and MASH Beer. And you know what?? They all tasted like %$#@!!!”
Many folks in South Dakota still have cans of Billy Beer. There was a hope from collectors and people who just hung on to a six-pack of the suds that they'd be worth something someday. Not so much. You can buy one for about $.50 cents a can now.
In October 1978, Falls City announced that it was closing after less than a year of Carter's promotion.
Billy Carter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 1988 at the age of 51.
MY FAVORITE BEERS