Buffalo in the ’40s: Celebrating Buffalo-made steel, beer, grain

By Steve Cichon

In 1949, The William Simon Brewing Company — makers of Simon Pure Beer — created a series of ads celebrating Buffalo, Buffalo’s industries, the men who work in those industries, and the products they make.

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“What Buffalo makes… Makes Buffalo” was the slogan which surrounded the campaign.

Buffalo Stories archives

“Be it steel or beer,” the ad reads, “the quality of the finished product depends on the materials, plant, and skill employed.” The photo in the “we salute our steelworkers” ad shows an unidentified local strip mill.

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As Simon Pure saluted millers, they reminded readers that Buffalo was the first city in the world for flour and feed milling, showing a series of elevators along the Buffalo River.

“Buffalo-made brands of flour, cereal, and feed set the standards of quality for the milling industry the world over. As with our milling industry, so with our brewing industry… for NONE can excel the high standard of quality maintained by Simon Pure.”

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Food industry workers also were saluted with a photo of the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal on Bailey Avenue.

Of course, Buffalo also was a brewing center, with nine brewers listed in the 1950 City Directory, but the only Buffalo-made beer ever mentioned was Simon Pure.

“Costlier malt, hops, and cereals, expertly blended and leisurely brewed (to) produce that superior taste and flavor that makes Simon Pure a neighborhood favorite everywhere!”

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.