St Louis, Omaha, New Orleans, Galveston, El Paso, Ft Wayne, San Jose, San Francisco, Cranston, RI
aka Private Stock, Head-wrecker, Head reckaz, P-stock, Heff's, Heffy's, Haffy, Haffen-wrecker, Green Death, Ghetto Torpedo, Green Grenades, Green Lightning, Liquid Crack, Booty Juice, Death in a Bottle, Hava-a - Reefer, Jolly Green Giants, Da Green Monsta, Blitz Monkies...
The malt liquor with the imported taste
Updated 01/27/2011 - Haffenreffer brand has new owners!
01/27/2011 The Haffenreffer brand has been sold by Pabst to the great, great grandson of Rudolf Haffenreffer. It is back in production and they've put up a nice web site. To visit, just click here. Our friends at Mikeska Distributing are now selling P-Stock throughout the Lone Star State, for contact details go here. Thanks to Sandra None for the tip.
Thanks to the constant prodding (nagging?) J of Mr. Michael Newman of NYC, I have decided to add a page dedicated to Haffenreffer Private Stock Malt Liquor. At one time Falstaff marketed quite a few labels; including Ballantine Beer, Narragansett Beers and Ales, Pickwick Ale, Munich, Hanley, Krueger, among others. Most have all fallen to the wayside and are no longer produced. The only three Falstaff brands that made it into the 21st century are the flagship brand, Ballantine Ale, and Haffenreffer Private Stock Malt Liquor.
Malt Liquor is a very interesting market segment. Nobody wants to admit that it is targeted towards inner city residents, but it is. If you've wandered around my site you'll see I did a term paper on malt liquor in college. I interviewed the brand manager at National Breweries in Baltimore, and he was very candid about their target market and approach. Interestingly enough, Colt 45 was originally a premium brand aimed at the high income segment, but paradoxily found a home in the inner city because of its "bigger bang for the buck" (at 6.7% twice the alcohol content of lite beers) and macho image. I guess once it became popular in the 'hood, the guys out in the 'burbs turned up their noses at it. If you are interested in more about the sales and marketing of malt liquor, you can read this great article as well as this one, though the latter is a bit dated. (above actor Sean Connery enjoying a P-stock thanks to Jack)
The Haffenreffer story actually begins in Boston, MA. The original Haffenreffer brewery buildings are still standing and are located along an industrial corridor between Washington Street and Stony Brook. At its zenith the Haffenreffer Brewery consisted of over 16 structures and was the largest industrial complex in the area. There were once 22 working breweries in this area of Boston. Over 100 beer trucks loaded up and headed out of the Haffenreffer brewery each day. (pic on right from www.breweriana.com)
Rudolph Haffenreffer Sr. had arrived
in Boston after the Civil War, and saw an opportunity to start a brewery in a
area where many German immigrants were concentrated. He bought the old Peter's
Brewery in 1870, tapping into the aquifers of Stony Brook (now buried under the
The company began brewing again in 1933 as Haffenreffer & Co. and merged with the Boston Beer Co. in 1956. Private Stock Malt Liquor was created by Frederick Haffenreffer, who was at the time was the vice president and general manager of Haffenreffer & Co. The malt liquor segment had been pioneered by Goetz Brewing of St Joseph, MO with their Country Club brand in 1954. Country Club originally gained fame as one of the first "near beers" during Prohibition which would take a "spike" of grain alcohol and taste like the real thing. But it was the release of Colt 45 in 1963 by National Brewing (see my Carling-National page) that malt liquor really began to come into its own. Soon the other national brewers were racing to create their own malt liquor brands, which was fortified by adding sugars into the brew to create a higher alcohol content. At its peak it had 250 workers. Haffenreffer managed to survive until 1965 when the plant was shuttered forever. In addition to Haffenreffer Lager Beer, they also produced Pickwick Ale and Pickwick Bock Beer. Old legends have it that Boston Red Sox players would stop by the brewery and "take a sip at the source" to fortify themselves before the next game. After the brewery closed the site became derelict and was overrun with weeds and trash. A fire tore through the buildings in the mid-1970s. However, thanks to the interest of James Koch of the Boston Brewery (Sam Adams Beer), whose grandfather had worked at the Haffenreffer Brewery, the area was purchased by a development corporation in 1983. The buildings were renovated and reopened in 1989 as an economic zone for light industry. The HQ for his Boston Brewery is now located in the old Haffenreffer brewery. (part of the old Haffenreffer brewery today. Check out the cool 'Stack).
With the closing of the Haffenreffer brewery, the brands became property of the Narragansett Brewing of Cranston, Road Island. This brewery was also affiliated with the same Haffenreffer brewing family in Boston. Back in 1931, as the repeal of Prohibition seemed certain, the shareholders of Narrangansett Brewing had approached Rudolf Jr. to run and fund their business. Rudolf Jr. was an expert at marketing, even commissioning Dr. Seuss to design a logo for the company using a cigar store Chief 'Gansett (below). Rudolf Jr. passed away in 1954. His son Rudolf III was named as President to be followed by his grandson Rudolf IV. The Haffenreffers were known for their benevolence, and founded a charitable fund in their name which continues today. They also had one of the most extensive collections of Native American art in the country which they donated to Brown University. This is now known as the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. (Rudolf Haffenreffer Jr. on a horse and later with native American art)
Tray from the great site www.trayman.net / 6/5/05 cool Dr. Seuss coaster thanks to Brien Foy
Narrangansett was sold to Falstaff in 1965 for $17 million in cash and $2 million in bonds, and with it went the Haffenreffer Brands. Falstaff did not have a successful malt liquor brand of their own (only later in '73 would they launch Griesedieck Malt Liquor) so promoted Private Stock along the East Coast along with the Haffenreffer Beer. Private Stock had it's aficionados among sports stars and celebrities. Basketball star Wilt Chamberlin promoted it with the tag line "Nobody Does It Bigger." Rapper the Notorious B.I.G. mentioned it in his song "Juicy". On a tragic note, college basketball star Len Bias bought six six packs of P-Stock the night before his overdose from cocaine. Falstaff continued to brew Private Stock at Cranston, but it was moved to the Ft Wayne plant after Cranston closed. It then bounced around the Pabst / Falstaff empire as its breweries closed, and the latest Private Stock I have seen in 16 oz bottles has been contract brewed by Pabst at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The 40 oz bottles might be contract brewed at Miller. It is also available in 32s, 24s, and 16oz cans.
Above pic of hundreds of Private Stock bottles at the abandoned Falstaff brewery in Ft Wayne, they had the labels on them, which is normally done after filling. Had someone broken in and found the "mother lode"? / shot on right Narrangansett Brewing
Carl Haffenreffer, the last president of Narragansett, passed away in 1999 at the age of 92. Here is his obit.
1/23/06 Will Brokhof wrote to see the entire old Haffenreffer brewery area is being renovated and turned into a gym, cafe, and other businesses. He recently created a neighborhood association called the Haffenreffer Neighborhood Association. I wonder if they serve Private Stock at their meetings.....
World O' Web Links
I have been truly amazed by the cult following Malt Liquor has on the web. It rivals the number of sites I found on Ballantine Ale, but frankly, the malt liquor ones are more fun. J
Oh yeah, one word of warning, while this site is rated G, many malt liquor sites use more colorful and descriptive language than I do, so you have been warned.:
Here is a Haffenreffer My Space page
Suburban white folks take a critical look at 40 oz Malt Liquor including P Stock.
A beginner's guide to Malt Liquor...
Bruz's 40 oz Malt Liquor Page - the Rolls Royce of tributes to the 40 oz beverage segment. Truly a labor of love.
Here's a link over to Drastic Mezures Haffenreffer Page..
At this site, websurfers post the conclusions of their 40 oz tasting sessions, instead of wine and brie, I guess it's 40 oz and cornutz
And if that's not enough, you can go to RateBeer.Com
WWW.40ouncebeer.Com is right here....
More on the culture of Malt Liquor from the Beer Advocate. They claim you can feel it eating away at your brain....
satan165's Malt Liquor site; this will get you directly to his Private Stock page. If you look hard enough there's even a movie of him sluggin' back a HaffenWrecker 40. Satan's got a link back to our Ballantine page, thanks, compadre. Below satan drinking a 40 oz after he razored out the XXX logo to use on his web page. Apparently the missing logo did not affect the taste... J
The Colt 45 Shrine
Another positive review of that imported taste
And if you're still interested, here is another on line guide to the joys of malt liquor
Joe Grossberg's Malt Liquor Reviews
McDonalds announces they will be adding malt liquor to their menus in certain inner city locations...The McForty has been a big hit with the kids, let's get McWasted...
A list of cool songs dedicated to livin' the vida 40 oz, contains real sound bites to listen while looking at this site!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You bad? Check out the MoeFugger Malt Liquor web site...
Some gentlemen in Iowa City show how to get good and drunk on OE800, and the best places to pass out in town.....
40 ounces of fury Malt Liquor taste test....
Here is a story about a lighthouse Carl Haffenreffer saved.....
One thing I would have to say doing the research is that the Haffenreffers seem like pretty fine folks. They set up a charity in their name and they created a museum so their private collection of Native American artifacts could be enjoyed by everyone. A tip of the ol' gimme hat to this brewing family.
If you know something I don't about Private Stock or the Haffenreffers, just send me an email
And of course, a slug of the ol'40 oz to Michael Newman for his inspiration to create this page.
Celebrated recording artist Stevie Wonder revealing the real inspiration behind all those top 40 hit records....yeah. Thanks again to Jack for this candid photo.