Career Highlights: Föecking Beer & the Mustang Ranch

The Cole's Home Page History of Photography: 1990

The Brewery contract-brewed a number of beers; Darryl's, Wild Boar, Simpatico Amber and one with the ancient German name of Föecking, for a company from Davenport. One day we received a letter forwarded from the brewery. The letter came from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (motto: More than a Bureaucracy, It's a Lifestyle!) saying some of our advertising was against BATF rules. Hmmmm. I dutifully called up the BATF and talked to them; they described a poster of a scantily clad, wet, aroused (or perhaps just cold) woman suggestively holding a bottle of beer with the caption "Looks Like You Need a Föecking". Intriguing though this sounded, tragically I had to tell her we had nothing to do with it and he'd have to talk directly to the Föecking Alcohol Beverage Company. I wrote the following letter, one of my favorite bits of business correspondence ever.

(We did subsequently get a copy of the poster from FATB after I talked to Mr. Loscalzo. It was in pretty poor taste; we certainly couldn't put it up in the workplace. I think the brand subsequently sunk without trace.)

Here's the letter, which of course would have gone out on ALLIED Group letterhead. (Weirdly, as of May 2015, a copy of this letter on plain paper is on display in the History of the Brewery on the ground floor. It was clearly just taken from this website though the curators never bothered to inquire about it.)

March 4, 1991

Ms. Debbie S. Hangsleben
Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms
Washington, D.C. 20226

Dear Ms. Hangsleben:

I am sending this letter at the suggestion of Thomas Skora, to whom I talked this afternoon in reference to the letter of March 1, 1991 to the Zélé Brewing Company regarding a poster advertising Föecking Beer.

My relationship to the situation is a little complicated, but I will outline it briefly. I work for ALLIED Group Merchant Banking. One of our jobs is acting as investment consultant to the Venture Capital Resources Fund, which is a major investor (under the name Iowa Business Development Finance Corporation) in the Zélé Brewing Company. Zélé has discontinued operations so your letter was forwarded to me.

The poster for the Föecking beer is not something done by the brewery. Zélé Brewing Company did contract brew and bottle Föecking beer last summer for the company that owns the brand, whose official name is Föecking Alcohol Beverage Company (FABC). However, all marketing and point of sale materials were done by someone else, presumably FABC. Indeed, neither we nor anybody at the brewery has seen the poster in question.

I would appreciate it if you would redirect your correspondence regarding the point of sale materials to FABC. Their address is:

     Föecking Alcohol Beverage Company
     xxx East xxth Street
     Davenport, Iowa 52803

The gentleman's name there is Tony Loscalzo. The Company's phone number is (319) 323-xxxx at the office or (319) 391-xxxx at home. If you have any questions of me, I can be reached at (515) 280-xxxx. Thank you very much.


Matthew J. Cole
Vice President

This wasn't my only brush with the seedier side of things. Speaking of föecking, there was the time the brokers wanted me to approve for sale shares of the Mustang Ranch, Inc. IPO so that we could sell ownership in a Nevada whorehouse to our clients.