Miss Harlem. Miss subways. Miss Brooklyn. The list of long-gone local beauty contests is filled with small-time titles and pageants.
But one mattered so much to residents, it reportedly attracted almost as many city voters as a presidential election at the time did: Miss Rheingold.
A promotional jackpot for Brooklyn’s Rheingold Brewing Company, the Miss Rheingold pageant ran from 1941 to 1964.
Every summer, grocery stores would be stocked with ballots featuring six finalists. The winner spent the following year on Rheingold billboards and in magazine ads. (Tippi Hendren, a 1953 finalist, above, didn’t snag the title.)
Miss Rheingold helped make the beer New York’s most popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Rheingold goes way back in the city; it opened in 1883 in Bushwick on the nabe’s famed “Brewers Row,” which earned its moniker because so many German-American beer companies began there.
Alas, they shut down in 1976, but the brand was revived in the 1990s. A new Miss Rheingold contest was also reinstated recently, but the contestants are all female bartenders.
Tags: Alfred Hitchcock, Brewers Row Bushwick, Bushwick Beer Barons, Jinx Falkenberg, Miss Brooklyn, Miss Harlem, Miss Subways, New York City beauty pageants, Rheingold Beer, Rheingold Brewing Company, The Birds, Tippi Hedren