|Alcohol by volume||4.6%|
Rolling Rock is a 4.6% abv pale lager launched in 1939 by the Latrobe Brewing Company. Although founded as a local beer in Western Pennsylvania, it was marketed aggressively and eventually became a national product. The brand was sold to Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, Missouri, in mid-2006, which transferred brewing operations to New Jersey.
From 1939 until July 26, 2006, Rolling Rock was brewed at the Latrobe Brewing Company in the Pittsburgh suburb of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. On May 19, 2006, Anheuser-Busch purchased the Rolling Rock and Rolling Rock Green Light brands from InBev for $82 million and began brewing Rolling Rock at its Newark facility in mid July, 2006. The final batch of Rolling Rock was shipped from Latrobe on July 31, 2006. Union leaders in Westmoreland County organized a nationwide boycott of Anheuser-Busch and InBev brands because of the move. Anheuser-Busch has said that Rolling Rock's original pledge on the label will be preceded by these words: "To honor the tradition of this great brand, we quote from the original pledge of quality." In July 2008, InBev reached a deal to acquire Anheuser-Busch, thereby returning ownership of Rolling Rock to InBev, now known as Anheuser–Busch InBev and based in Belgium.
In 2009, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it was exploring the sale of the Rolling Rock brand.
Original "pony" bottle of beer
A 7 oz. bottle of beer that became known as a "pony" was originally brewed for Rolling Rock Beer by Latrobe Brewing Company of Latrobe, PA. The 7 oz. beer was served because when prohibition was repealed in 1933, America was still coming out of the Depression and the smaller size beer was for the working man who could not afford a full 12 oz. beer. The 12 oz. bottle has a picture of a horse on it, so, when coming into a tavern or pub, the customer would ask for either a horse or a pony, meaning a 12 oz. beer or a 7 oz. beer respectively.
The number 33 is printed prominently on all bottles of Rolling Rock. Many have speculated on the significance of the number 33: that the "33" refers to the founding year of the Pittsburgh Steelers (who have their team practices in Latrobe); that 33 degrees is the proper temperature to keep beer; that Latrobe test-brewed 33 batches of beer before coming up with the final formula for Rolling Rock. (A Pabst Blue Ribbon's advertising campaign from the late 1930s through the early 1940s asserted that Pabst "blended 33 beers" to get its final product. Yuengling, like Rolling Rock, brewed in Pennsylvania is also reputed to have mounted a similar ad campaign, touting a similar amount of "rough" brews blended to make the final product.). Other theories concerning the number 33 are that there were exactly 33 stair steps from the brewmaster's office to the brewing floor in the original Latrobe brewery. Also that the PA fish and game commission at the turn of the century numbered the streams within the commonwealth and the water that was used to brew this beer was taken from the stream numbered 33.
One widely held belief is that it marks the repeal of prohibition in 1933.
James L. Tito, former CEO of Latrobe Brewing, opined that the "33" signifies the 33 words in the beer's original pledge of quality, which is still printed on every bottle:
While the original wording on the label was somewhat different, it also contained the 33 following words:
This was followed by the "33". The current pledge is on the 12 oz. bottles, while the "little nip" pledge is from the 7 oz. bottle version.
A founding executive is said to have written "33" at the end of the slogan to indicate the number of words it comprised as a guide for the bottle printers. They assumed it was part of the text and incorporated it into the label graphics. Hence, the first batch of bottles carried the number "33" and they remained that way since they were continually collected and reused.
Tito admitted, however, that there is no hard proof for this theory, and that at this point in time no one really knows what the true origin of the "33" may have been. Nonetheless, the tradition of the printing explanation has been sustained by the company as the wording on the labels has changed over the years, and the verbiage is carefully structured to retain a length of 33 words. The Rolling Rock nomenclature on the bottles is painted on, not paper or plastic. However, In New Hampshire in the 1980s there were bottles with printed paper labels. These bottles were a bit shorter than the long necks served in bars and taverns. The original pledge and "33" were printed on the backside of the paper labels, therefore being readable by looking through the beer from the back of the bottle. They followed the 33 word pledge printed above.
Rolling Rock Red
Anheuser-Busch rolled out a red lager version of Rolling Rock called Rolling Rock Red. While the number 33 has been a traditional part of Rolling Rock iconography, Rolling Rock Red's label has a "3", presumably signifying the name of the beverage ("Rolling Rock Red") or the words in the tagline "Finely Crafted Lager", which appears only on the Rolling Rock Red bottles.
References in pop culture
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Abstinence", Kramer can be seen at his door holding a bottle of Rolling Rock and a cigar, apparently in a drunken stupor from playing poker.
- In the movie Old School Will Ferrell as well as other guests at the party are seen drinking Rolling Rock.
- There are numerous scenes in The Deer Hunter that feature Rolling Rock.
- Rolling Rock can also be seen in the film 30 Minutes or Less when the pizza guy is drinking at his house.
- In Yes Man, Carl (Jim Carrey) orders a Rolling Rock at a bar when he meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel) there.
- They drink it in Entourage.
- In an episode of The Sopranos, they celebrate Hugh's 75th birthday, and Tony Soprano and Tony Blundetto among other characters drink Rolling Rock.
- In many episodes of Lucky Louie.
- In the movie The Wrestler, Marisa Tomei can be seen chugging a single bottle of Rolling Rock at a bar.
- In the movie That's My Boy (2012 film), Adam Sandler can be seen drinking Rolling Rock throughout certain scenes in the movie.
- In Homeland season 2 episode 12, Diego Klattenhoff and Damian Lewis are seen having a couple of Rolling Rocks.
- In "Heavier than Heaven", Kurt Cobains beverage of choice.
- In the film Reality Bites several times.
- in the movie Rocky Balboa when he walks in the bar and asks for a beer, little Marie gives him a Rolling Rock.
- In HBO's drama The Wire Season 4 Episode 3 Jimmy McNulty and William "Bunk" Moreland are seen sharing a few six packs of Rolling Rock during one of their drinking sessions.
- Jude Law can be seen drinking a Rolling Rock in the 2013 film Side Effects.
- WallStreet Journal: Anheuser Explores Sale of Struggling Rolling Rock
- Scott, Rebekah (May 24, 2006). "Latrobe brewery's boosters calling for boycott". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on April 15, 2009
- Why is there a "33" on Rolling Rock beer labels? from The Straight Dope
-  from www.homebrewtalk.com
- Rolling Rock official website
- Why is there a 33 on Rolling Rock beer labels?
- Rolling Rock anthem-Rolling Rock Blues
- "Latrobe says goodbye to Rolling Rock", Michael Cowden, Associated Press, July 28, 2006