Anheuser-Busch Featured Nursing Mothers and Babies in Malt-Nutrine Ads

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Self-Framed Tin Sign 1905

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Self-Framed Tin Sign 1905

It is surprising to see how breweries featured nursing mothers and their babies in advertisements starting in the late 1800’s.  This 1905 Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine advertising sign is fairly rare and I’ve had it in my collection for about ten years.  It’s a self-framed tin sign and is called “The Fountain of Health”. It was designed primarily to get the attention of new mothers because of the women and winged cherub” babies featured in the image. It was most likely displayed in a doctor’s office to provide more credibility and support by physicians who would recommend Malt-Nutrine.

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Ad in Life Magazine 1895

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Ad in Life Magazine 1895

Anheuser-Busch ran strong advertising campaigns for its time. Other Malt-Nutrine ads were featured in women’s magazines and had images of nursing mothers and their babies.  An 1895 advertisement in Life Magazine portrays a smiling mom holding her baby. It reads, ”Food For Both. Every nursing mother needs the kind of nourishment there is in Anheuser-Busch’s Malt Nutrine. The baby needs it in order to grow healthy and plump. The mother needs it in order to keep healthy and plump. To be had at all Druggists’ and Grocers’.”


Malt-Nutrine was a Low-Alcohol Beer Considered a Health Tonic

A Good Housekeeping Magazine ad in 1919 touted, “The Healthy, Happy Mother owes to Malt-Nutrine, liquid food and tonic, her excellent state of well-being. It gives her endurance and quick restoration and an ample supply of nourishment for the little one at her breast. It quiets her nerves, whets her appetite and brings to her sweet, restful sleep. Her strength and joyousness are imparted to her baby – a healthy, happy pair.”

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Ad in Good Housekeeping  Magazine 1919

Anheuser-Busch Malt-Nutrine Ad in Good Housekeeping Magazine 1919

Anheuser-Busch’s Malt-Nutrine was a low-alcohol form of beer, considered a “tonic”, “malt extract” or “liquid bread” with its main ingredients of barley, malt and hops. It was produced from 1895 to 1942 by Anheuser-Busch based in St. Louis, Mo. The drink was in a short amber bottle and had less than 1.9% alcohol. It was promoted as a health benefit for nursing mothers, and for people with insomnia or who were ill. It was distributed through drug stores and grocery stores, and served at health resorts.

According to Anheuser-Busch, “Malt-Nutrine was highly esteemed by the medical profession and its popularity resulted mainly from the fact that doctors prescribed it for patients in need of building up their health, such as new mothers, convalescents, the anemic and aged.”

Malt-Nutrine’s formula was forced to change during the national Prohibition from 1920 to 1933. Anheuser-Busch reduced the alcohol content to less than half of one percent in Malt-Nutrine, and it affected the taste of the drink. This new taste of Malt-Nutrine was not popular and caused sales to decline. Ultimately, the beverage was discontinued in 1942. However, many of the Breweriana advertising collectibles from this unique beverage still exist today.