Champale commercial featuring Ashford & Simpson
Champale commercial featuring Ashford & Simpson

Champale: The Champagne of Malt Liquors [Video]

Hey, baby. It's been a long week, but it's Friday afternoon. Time to kick off those shoulder pads, slip into the bathtub and pour a glass of cool Champale. What? Don't remember Champale? Why, it's the Champagne of malt liquors, a fizzy concoction that was pitched as the poor man's Champagne. (It's pronounced "sham-pale," not "champ-ale," BTW.) [Video after the jump.]

Champale actually has a long history dating back to 1939, when it was first produced by the Metropolis Brewing Company in Trenton, N.J. By the early 1980s, Champale was, in the United States, being marketed mainly to African-Americans via a series of gauzy, aspirational ads (here, here). Jean-Luc Godard famously said that over time, all movies become documentaries. It's just as true of commercials, which are, in fact, a much more accessible window into a culture's ideals and values.

We're also impressed with the serious shoulder groovin' of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

Happy Friday.

Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page. Follow the author at @ElinaShatkin or contact her at


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