What Kind Of Beer Does Cousin Eddie Drink In Christmas Vacation?

The National Lampoon’s Vacation movies are known for their hilarious and memorable scenes and characters.

One of those is Cousin Eddie, made famous by Christmas Vacation. Often dressed in a dressing gown and hat, he looks out of place in all the snow.

What Kind Of Beer Does Cousin Eddie Drink In Christmas Vacation?

Stranger still, considering the cold temperatures, he often has a beer in his hand.

Many fans would love to know what brand it is, but it can be difficult to tell.

That’s why we’ve done the work for you! Below, you can find out all about the beverage of choice for this funny and famous character. 

Which Brand Of Beer Does Cousin Eddie Drink In Christmas Vacation?

Cousin Eddie can often be seen holding a cigar and a can of beer – he’s a man who likes to relax! But what is his beer brand of choice? By looking closely, we can see that he is drinking a Meister Brau.

This name may not ring any bells to you, but it would have then.

Meister Brau was a popular beer of the 20th century, made in Chicago, despite its very German name.

The brand’s distribution network was actually sold off to the Miller Brewing Company in 1972, who continued to manufacture it.

This is clearly the case, because Christmas Vacation was made in 1989. The beer was evidently still going strong, 17 years after the sale!

Meister Brau Beer And Its History

Before it was sold to Miller in 1972, Meister Brau had an interesting history itself, stretching back about 80 years from then.

Formed in Chicago, Illinois (the “Windy City”), the beer was created by Peter Hand Brewing Company. 

The namesake and founder of the company, Peter Hand, was himself quite a fascinating character.

A Prussian immigrant (which is now practically Germany), he came to America and fought in its civil war, before starting his brewery in 1891.

Little did he know of the impact he’d be having on beer lovers for the next 100 or so years! And, of course, on Cousin Eddie.

During the American prohibition, when alcohol was made illegal to reduce social issues and crime, his brewery was forced into closure between 1920 and 1933.

Somehow, despite this major financial setback, the company didn’t collapse.

When prohibition finally ended, the brewery opened its doors once more, and even managed to expand its reach. 

They lasted well another 32 years, when, in 1965, an investor bought the brand.

Smartly, they changed the brewery’s name from Peter Hand to Meister Brau, which was the name of the company’s most popular beer.

Given Hand’s Prussian origins, the German name suddenly makes sense! 

The new investors decided to expand the business even further, launching new types of the brand.

Meister Brau Lite was an inspired idea from their team, which skyrocketed to popularity almost as much as its main Meister Brau father.

The investors also made use of advertising. They put a lot of money into the market available in Chicago, even sponsoring sports teams.

Given how many people like to knock back a beer while watching a game, it’s unsurprising that they would do well from this promotion! 

Yet, despite all these new types and marketing successes, the company messed up their money.

By not being careful enough with their finances, the owners were forced to sell the Mister Brau brand to the Miller Brewing Company.

You could say they Peter Hand(ed) them over. 

Can I Still Buy Meister Brau Today?

If you want to model yourself on the hilarious Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, I’m afraid I have bad news.

Meister Brau is no longer manufactured or available. In 2005, Miller stopped producing the main named brand because of dramatically decreased sales. 

However, you can have some small taste of it. Remember Meister Brau Lite? Well, this was largely turned into the famous Miller Lite that is still on sale and popular today.

So if you pick up a can of that, you can have a sense of what Cousin Eddie may have been drinking. 

What Does Meister Brau Beer Taste Like? 

You may be wondering what the main beer itself actually did taste like.

With its golden/yellow appearance, the beer smelt of grains and corn – and tasted of the same too! With a small white foamy head when poured, the beer was generally light bodied and perfectly pleasant. No wonder Cousin Eddie liked it!


Cousin Eddie was involved with some of the funniest moments in the Christmas Vacation movie, and he always had a trusty can of Meister Brau in his hand! You now know all about its long and interesting history, where the beer drifted from owner to owner, yet remained just as popular and beloved.

Andrew Carr
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