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Bevo

Bevo was a non-alcoholic malt beverage, or "near beer", manufactured in the United States by the Anheuser-Busch company. It enjoyed its greatest success during prohibition, when actual beer was illegal.

The Anheuser-Busch company started brewing Bevo in 1916 in order to have a product to market in the states and communities where alcohol was illegal. Production rose greatly with national prohibition in 1919, and Bevo was by far the most popular of the many "cereal beverages" or "near beers" of the time. At the peak of its popularity in the early 1920s, more than 5 million cases of Bevo were sold each year.

Labels on the bottles billed it as "Bevo the Beverage". The name "Bevo" was coined from the word "beverage" and the Slavic languages word for beer "pivo", and was pronounced "Bee-vo".

Some Bevo advertising featured the character "Renard the Fox" (based on the protagonist of a medieval French folk-tale), and promotional mugs with this character were manufactured.

A contemporary advertisement read "Cooling and invigorating, Bevo the Beverage. Order by the case from your grocer, drugist, or dealer." The paper label on the back of the bottle read "The All-Year-Round Soft Drink. Appetizing - Healthful - Nutritious - Refreshing. Milk or water may contain bacteria. BEVO never does."

Bevo became part of the popular culture of the time, and is mentioned in various popular songs and Vaudeville skits of the era. This lead to secondary slang uses of the word, for instance in American military slang a young inexperienced officer was called a "Bevo".

In the late 1920s smuggled bootleg beer and liquor as well as "homebrew", cut into Bevo's marketshare. With sales flattening to 100,000 cases by 1929, Anheuser-Busch stopped production. The Bevo building, with the Reynard character prominently displayed at the corners, still operates as a bottling facility at their main brewery in St. Louis, Missouri.

See also:

Near beer
Non-alcoholic beer


Bevo (UT Austin Mascot)

Bevo is also the name of the mascot of The University of Texas at Austin. Originally, a Texas longhorn steer was chosen as the mascot, and given the name of "Varsity." After the University lost a football game against Texas A&M University in 1916, A&M students kidnapped Varsity, and branded it in large characters with the losing score, "13-0." UT students recovered the animal, and with branding irons changed the mark to read "Bevo," which was a near beer popular on campus at the time. The mascot's name has persisted ever since.

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