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What do shows like Burn Notice, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, My Name is Earl, and The Vampire Diaries all have in common? Heisler beer. If you watch TV, there is a chance that you have seen Heisler beer at least once or twice. But is Hollywood’s most popular beer fact or fiction? Can you give Heisler a try, or is it akin to Let’s Potato Chips, Bepsi, and WcDonald’s?
What is Heisler Beer?
Heisler beer (also known as Heisler Gold Ale) is a prop beer, also called the “Bud Light of fake beers,” and has been seen on multiple television shows throughout the years. Heisler beer cans are seen scattered around crime scenes, bottles are broken over the heads of actors in bar fights, and so much more. The brand name is, in short, completely made-up for the purpose of Hollywood. It has also been one of the first patented fake brands.
Here is a video describing many well-known prop brands, including Heisler:
Also, when Studio Graphics sells a case or bottle of Heisler beer to a film production team, it is often filled with a non-alcoholic beer. However, many sets will swap out the beer for water or soda, since non-alcoholic beer can go bad fast after multiple takes.
For example, the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia spent a large portion of screen time drinking Heisler Gold Ale. That wasn’t beer in the cans. Molly Rummel of Studio Graphics explained that the cast put “the [Heisler] labels on regular cans of water so they could do take after take after take without getting sick.”
Why Does Hollywood Need a Prop Beer?
There are over 40 custom fake beer labels that have been designed by Studio Graphics, the famous graphics team from Independent Studio Services, the Hollywood prop house. Now, you may be wondering why movies and TV shows would need a fake beer brand. Turns out that when celebrities are drinking on screen, they are not doing the most socially acceptable things, like beating up someone in a drunken haze. Because of that, convincing alcohol and beer brands to allow their very real beverages to be portrayed that way is challenging.
In fact, if a movie or TV show used real brands in bad situations, the studio could be potentially slapped with a defamation lawsuit. Furthermore, if a popular brand was used in a show and caused, for instance, a fatal car accident, it would be cast in a negative light when shown during a commercial break.
Fortunately, Studio Graphics made Heisler and other prop beers to answer the call. You can do whatever you want with props; you can film beer in a poor light.
Why is Heisler Beer Popular in Hollywood?
The interesting thing about Heisler Gold Ale is that it has been in the prop game for many years. Heisler is not like other fake brands, like Let’s Potato Chips, which was a fake version of Lay’s. The Heisler label design was not meant to mimic any other beer. The label is one of a kind. That may be why Heisler seems like a real brand.
Plus, the overall branding of Heisler is recognizable and timeless. The label is simple, and the colors fit well into any scene, regardless of the show.
Compare that to the other fake beers made by Studio Graphics, including Cerveza Clara, El Brazo, and American Colonel, which was designed to look like a microbrewery concoction or Budweiser.
Can I Buy Heisler Beer in Real Life?
Unlike Puppers beer, which was available for a short time in the real world, Heisler beer was never real. So no, you cannot purchase Heisler Gold Ale in real life. After all, it is not a real beer, and the non-alcoholic beer put into the cans is an off-brand. While you may be able to purchase the packaging, there is no such thing as alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer for sale in stores and bars.
Heisler: It’s a Fact That It’s Fiction
Although ubiquitous throughout Hollywood, Heisler beer is indeed fiction. Heisler is a prop beer for drinking scenes in a variety of shows and films. It can be used as other beers can’t. Sadly, there is no way to purchase Heisler and give it a try, so you’re just going to have to imagine the flavor!
How many other prop beers and alcohol brands can you think of? Let us know in the comments.
No, Heisler Gold Ale is not real. Heisler is a prop created by Studio Graphics.
Heisler beer is a fake beer brand that is seen in many shows and films because it is a prop. Using existing beer brands in shows that end up portraying it in a poor light, such as arguments, aggression, or car accidents, often has negative consequences. Heisler beer was created to give production studios free reign to use the beer however they please.
No, Heisler beer does not contain alcohol. Commonly, Heisler comes with either non-alcohol beer or water, depending on how it is going to be used. For example, if the beer is being poured into a glass, the non-alcoholic version is used. If an actor is going to take a sip from the can, it’s often water.