Minnesota is well known for its rugged pine forests, beautiful lakes, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Minnesota was also popular in the 1950s and 60s because it was home to an iconic cartoon bear who would appear in beer commercials set to drumbeat music.
VocalEssence’s album featuring works by Dominick Argento, Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus as well as tribute medleys to gopher State icons Judy Garland, Bob Dylan and the SPAM Song from Monty Python is truly wonderful.
The Hamm’s Bear
If you were raised in Minnesota during the 1950s and 1960s, chances are you remember Sascha the bear from Hamm’s beer commercials dancing around clumsily as part of Hamm’s beer commercials. Sascha quickly became one of Minnesota’s most beloved icons during this era.
Hamm’s first television commercial featuring Sascha the bear was created in 1953. These animated spots usually depicted him stomping through the woods or playing games with other woodland animals accompanied by an infectious tune beginning “From the land of sky blue waters/ Comes Hamm’s beer refreshing!”
Hamm’s products featuring their iconic bear were available throughout their store, including calendars, playing cards, napkins, coasters and salt and pepper shakers – even having its own teddy bear! Additionally, the popular beer sponsored various sports teams, including the Minnesota Twins with whom their TC Bear was said to be modelled after Sascha.
In the 1970s, Heublein advertised their new brewery product using a live Kodiak bear as their mascot; however, due to Heublein purchasing Hamm’s brewery they realized this wasn’t as effective and replaced it with Theodore H. Bear as an alternate form of advertising in 1973.
Even as Hamm’s Bear went dormant, its company’s name lived on. Over time it became part of Olympia Brewing Company before that was swallowed up by Pabst; and finally Miller Brewing bought both companies in 1999 storing Hamm’s trademark and brand away for safekeeping.
Fans of Sascha haven’t given up hope that Hamm’s Bear will return one day, with an internet petition garnering over 100,000 signatures and several websites dedicated to collecting memorabilia of Hamm’s Bear; Minneapolis hosts the Hamm’s Club which hosts an annual convention featuring original Hamm’s bear displayed from a walkway at Wisconsin Historical Society Museum Tomahawk, Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, with access via walkway.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
The Boundary Waters is a world-class wilderness destination and one of the most visited wilderness areas in the US, welcoming millions of visitors annually who camp, fish, paddle, dogsled and hunt – supporting regional economies while at the same time supporting a sustainable regional economy. But more than just being an entertaining recreational destination, the Boundary Waters needs long-term protection as a unique natural landscape.
The BWCA is an immense lake-and-forest wilderness that stretches 150 miles along Minnesota’s border with Canada. Formed over two million years by glacial retreat, its borders connect directly with Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Canada; both have long been visited and explored by Dakota, Ojibwe and other indigenous people. This beautiful landscape has been visited and explored for millennia by Dakota, Ojibwe and other indigenous groups for exploration purposes.
Canoeing in the Boundary Waters is an absolute must, with scenic lake country providing ideal conditions for canoeists of all skill levels to experience weekend to summer-long expeditions. The BWCA boasts more than 1,000 lake and river routes connected by short overland portages – one classic beginner route starts on Farm Lake, winds its way around three lakes to Clear Lake before returning back home again via Farm Lake.
Although camping in the Boundary Waters can take place any time of year, spring and early summer are especially popular among canoeists and hikers who wish to escape crowds. Visitors who make it out there during these months can benefit from less other people around, cooler temperatures, and an increased chance of encountering iconic wildlife such as moose.
As canoeing season peaks in July and August, so too do the number of visitors to the BWCA. To spend a night camping out during these months, make sure you obtain your permit early as they often sell out quickly. No matter if you are an experienced canoeist or just starting out; bring along a map – National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated map of the Boundary Waters is an unparalleled source of detailed and vital information that will assist with safely exploring this stunning wilderness; download it free here!
The Hamm’s Beer Jingle
German immigrant Theodore Hamm could never have predicted when he bought a struggling brewery on Phalen Creek in St Paul in 1864 that it would one day become one of America’s premier beer brands. After Prohibition and World War II ended, Hamm’s launched a national advertising campaign via Minneapolis agency Campbell-Mithun as well as purchasing multiple breweries across America to allow for distribution to various markets.
Hamm’s bear and its “From the Land of Sky Blue Waters” jingle helped boost sales during this era, and many Minnesotans recall fondly enjoying a refreshing beer with this goofy cartoon bear as it stomped on stumps or floated logs downstream in his TV commercials. These commercials would run for three decades compared to most beer ads of their day!
The iconic cartoon bear made his first debut in a beer commercial and remains beloved today by generations of fans. Hamm’s beer ads made use of him often; after Heublein acquired Hamm’s, Heublein decided to focus more on brewing processes than bear antics.
Rolf Surratt was employed at Hamm’s Camp Wandawega when approached by their beer company to appear in their television commercials. With his experience working with children at Camp Wandawega, it made Rolf an ideal candidate to bring Hamm’s beer to Seagull and Saganaga lakes for promotional photographs – helping secure beautiful wilderness shots for calendars and print ads by helping secure them!
Rolf was passionate about fishing and hunting. He would often take his family out on Seagull Creek canoe trips. Due to his ability of spotting wildlife and avoiding danger, the Hamm’s beer company started using Rolf as an observer during photo shoots for their beer label – with Rolf also acting as director when his family were posing in front of cameras for photo ops.
Classic Hamm’s ads featured picturesque landscape photographs of the Boundary Waters, but their real power lay in capturing both mesmerizing images from Northwoods wilderness as well as nostalgic feelings associated with pouring themselves a cold Hamm’s beer. This combined with nostalgic music created an indelible connection that continues to resonate today within beer consumers and industry professionals alike.