Remembering Iroquois Brewing Company

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CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — As part of its continued resurgence, Buffalo has seen microbreweries pop up all around town. But before there were hundreds to choose from, Iroquois Brewery was the heart of the Queen City.

“For that fresh fresh beery have an Iri. Iroquois the fresh tasting beer!”

That’s the jingle responsible for making Iroquois Brewing Company a household name. In 1965, Phil Scheeler, a longtime local actor, broadcasted this message across TVs in Western New York. Scheeler played a thirsty customer, but without a bartender to serve him, the commercial was pointless. That’s where Norm Dobmeier stepped in.

Scheeler told News 4,”Norm Dobmeier, the bartender, he was just the wonderful bartender. He really was. I didn’t know that Norm was not an actor.”

Norm’s son John, told us the role was unexpected but welcome.

Dobmeier shared, “He worked part time at his father’s liquor store, and a customer came in, I presume he was a producer or something, and my dad was a big guy and he said Norm we’re looking for a fat jolly bartender for an Iroquois Beer commercial would you like to do it? And he said sure, and that’s how it started. He was as outgoing as he was large!”

The chemistry between Norm and Phil was undeniable and from that moment on, history was made.

Scheeler said, “It was sort of spontaneous and unrehearsed and that’s exactly how we wanted it to be!”

Norm passed away 23 years ago, and his family never had a chance to see his one piece of work or 15 seconds of fame on TV.

The Scheeler family wanted to change that. They brought the Dobmeier’s back to the place where it all started, on the corner of Harlem Road and Viola Drive. Together, they shared in the nostalgic experience.

Dobmeier said, “I’ve held back tears a couple times already. This is the first time I’ve seen him since ‘93, so it’s very heart wrenching.”

The two families watched the commercial together. They laughed, shared memories, and memorabilia.

They brought the memory of Iroquois Brewing Company back. Scheeler, even remembered his lines 50 years later!

“MMM….This is it!”

It was a moment that will be remembered by both families for many years to come and will be shared for generations.

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