Rolling Rock is a brand of pale lager beer introduced in 1939. Although founded as a local beer in Western Pennsylvania, it was marketed aggressively and eventually became a national product. The brand was sold to Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, Missouri, in mid 2006, which transferred brewing operations to New Jersey.
From 1939 until 2006, Rolling Rock was brewed at the Latrobe Brewing Company. In May, 2006, Anheuser-Busch purchased the Rolling Rock and Rolling Rock Green Light brands from InBev for $82 million and began brewing Rolling Rock at its Newark facility in mid July, 2006. The final batch of Rolling Rock was shipped from Latrobe on July 31, 2006. Union leaders in Westmoreland County organized a nationwide boycott of Anheuser-Busch and InBev brands because of the move. Anheuser-Busch has said that Rolling Rock's original pledge on the label will be preceded by these words: "To honor the tradition of this great brand, we quote from the original pledge of quality." In July 2008, InBev reached a deal to acquire Anheuser-Busch, thereby returning ownership of Rolling Rock to InBev, now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev and based in Belgium.
In 2009, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it was exploring the sale of the Rolling Rock brand
The number 33 is printed prominently on all bottles of Rolling Rock. A widely-held belief is that it marks the repeal of prohibition in 1933. However, according to James L. Tito, former CEO of Latrobe Brewing, the "33" signifies the 33 words in the beer's slogan: "Rolling Rock - From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe, we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you."
A founding executive is said to have written "33" at the end of the slogan to indicate the number of words it comprised as a guide for the bottle printers. However, they thought it was part of the text and incorporated it into the label graphics. Hence, the first batch of bottles carried the number "33" and they remained that way since they were continually collected and reused (also, during the Great Depression, there was no reason to throw away perfectly good merchandise and start over). This tradition has been sustained by the company as the wording on the labels has changed over the years, and the verbiage is carefully structured to retain a length of 33 words. There are several other lesser-known theories or urban legends about the "mysterious" number 33, but none have been verified.
Rolling Rock bottles have painted-on labels rather than glued-on paper labels.
Rolling Rock RedEdit
Anheuser-Busch rolled out a red lager version of Rolling Rock called Rolling Rock Red. While the number 33 has been a traditional part of Rolling Rock iconography (see Number 33), Rolling Rock Red's label has a “3”, presumably signifying the words in the tagline "Finely Crafted Lager" which appears only on the Rolling Rock Red bottles.