Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Get to know Heisler, TV's most popular fake beer

Illustration for article titled Get to know Heisler, TV's most popular fake beer
Screenshot: Training Day

Though some disagree, drunk people don’t make great sponsors. It’s rare, after all, to see someone chugging a Bud onscreen. As such, this has necessitated the need for TV shows and movies to scrounge up fake suds, a search that’s proven to be a lucrative one for the makers of Heisler, a non-beer that you’ve seen getting downed on the likes of The New Girl, Stranger Things, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Now that you can just pop into Universal Studios to down a Duff, Heisler has emerged as entertainment’s most famous beer, and Thrillist is here with all the hoppy details.


Heisler comes from Studio Graphics, the in-house graphics team at prop house Independent Studio Services, where it manifests in a number of different iterations, from the original Heisler gold ale to Heisler Lite and a vintage edition used in shows set in the ‘40s through ‘80s. (Studio Graphics also makes Morley Cigarettes, the universe-spanning smokes preferred by The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man.) To be clear, though, this isn’t a real beer, which made patenting the thing a bit of a headache.

“We were the first people, according to our lawyer, that put a patent on a fake brand,” says Molly Rummel, the assistant manager at Studio Graphics says. “It’s like, ‘It’s not real, but we’re still trying to patent it like it is.’ It’s one of those things where other people don’t do it, so it’s really exciting to be on the forefront of that.”

Fake or not, Studio Graphics is committed to realism. Instead of filling the bottles with water, they bottle them with non-alcoholic beer so, whether they’re popped open or poured, they resemble an actual brew. And while it’s hilarious to think of actors consuming gallons of non-alcoholic beer on set, it’s also surprising to learn that Danny DeVito actually isn’t getting wasted while filming It’s Always Sunny.

Read the full piece here.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.