Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Legendary Lakemaids lure beer-drinking anglers January 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:44 PM

Packaging on August Schell Brewing Company Lakemaid Beer features a half-woman, half-fish.

Miss Salmon promotes Lakemaid Beer.

WHEN MY HUSBAND thunks the heavy beer case onto the kitchen counter Friday night, I do a double take.

“What kind of beer is that?” I ask, peering at the curvy mermaid women lounging on the side of the beer box.

“Schells,” he says, and I lean in closer.

Initially, I am offended that August Schell Brewing Company, from the conservative German community of New Ulm, would use this tactic of attractive women to lure beer drinkers.

But after I’ve calmed down a bit, given it some thought and done some research, my opinion changes.

The whole concept of Lakemaid Beer™ is really quite ingenious as it aims to hook anglers and also supports International Game Fish Association game fish research and conservation. A portion of the profits go to the IGFA.

Credit for the Lakemaid idea goes to the Twin Cities advertising firm of Pocket Hercules, which drew its inspiration partly from the legend of freshwater mermaids and from the Rainy Lake Mermaid sculpture positioned on a rock in the middle of Rainy Lake, according to the official Lakemaid Beer™ website, www.lakemaidbeer.com.

Schells and Rapala USA have teamed up to market this limited edition beer as an “angler’s lager…a beer that captures the essence of fishing, fun and the flavor of lake country.”

Released just in time for the May 2008 fishing opener, this classic American lager with a mild malt flavor aims to draw both warm and cold weather fishermen with seasonal releases.

The winter edition my husband reeled in features half-fish, half-women sporting furry bikini tops and wearing warm ear muffs, hats and/or scarves. To further promote the product to ice fishermen, the beer box includes a mini pin-up calendar insert complete with Lakemaid spotting tips.

January’s tip suggests: “Knocking on the ice with your boot or fist in rhythmic cadence is a reliable way to attract Lakemaids. Also, scoop your holes regularly. If a Lakemaid is going to surface she’s likely to favor a clean hole over a slushy one.”

Clearly, Schell’s brewery, Rapala and its marketing firm are expanding on this whole Lakemaid lore to sell beer and fishing gear. They’ve even created a National Lakemaid Reporting Center, for goodness sakes. The whole concept is, obviously, a keeper or Schells would have tossed the beer back into a Minnesota lake long ago.

Even non-anglers like my husband have taken the bait.

“I want to try some of your beer,” I tell Randy as he pours his Lakemaid into a mug. “Are women allowed to drink this beer?”

“You’ll start growing a fish tail maybe,” he replies.

So I grab my mug of Brau Brothers Brewing Company Strawberry Wheat brew.

He can keep his guy beer.

Six of the 12 Lakemaids featured on the packaging of Schell's Lakemaid Beer, winter edition.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling