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The Weird Life & Death of Body on Tap Beer Shampoo

1978 was one hell of a year.

Pope John Paul I was succeeded by who I have to assume was his son, Pope John Paul II (Junior?), Grease further perpetuated the stereotype the 50’s era greaser gangs were just in it for the choreography & show tunes and Body on Tap Beer Shampoo, with its promises of “super body and super hold”, was released to a generation of American’s in desperate need of good hair decisions.

Body on Tap was manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers, and for 7 glorious years the general public had access to Beer Shampoo that was 1/3rd Budweiser and 2/3rds endorsed by a pre-Alec Baldwin’d Kim Basinger - 

Budweiser, in case you’re wondering, outright refused to be featured in Body of Tap’s advertising campaigns.  “Augie” Busch firmly believed that beer was only good for drinking, but good luck explaining that to my AA sponsor, Terry.

Despite their objections to any B.o.T. co-marketing initiatives, the fine people at Anheuser-Busch were kind enough to “denature” the beer with formaldehyde so it wouldn’t be taxed as alcohol.  However, they did this VERY secretly, out of the eye-shot from most workers, and they prohibited the undrinkable product from being moved in marked Budweiser trucks.  For Perspective’s sake, this is the same company responsible for Bud Lite Lime.

From everything I can tell about a product without a Wikipedia page, Body on Tap had a good run for a few years, but as one industry insider put it – “Bristol-Myers had the habit of strongly supporting new products, and then withdrawing support as the product aged, so like so many of their products, the brand as originally designed, just faded away.”  HOWEVER, I think that’s only part of the truth….

I’ve heard from reasonably trustworthy (though un-named and potentially un-sober) sources that prisoners were getting their hands on Body on Tap and drinking it, proving once again that alcohol is SO GOOD.  I’ve also heard that enthusiasm for the product began to wane as the Disco Era 70’s gave way to the Just Say No 80’s, and glorifying beer became a thing people only used to do instead of do do, ya know?

New, Bud-less versions of Body on Tap are still around since Bristol-Myers sold the brand name and new formulations were produced by the new owners, but as far as I can tell they don’t garner the same support its drunken relative once did.  It just goes to show that you can't beat The Original (unless you're Duffy's brew, in which case you slaughter the original. Obviously.).

SO, here’s to Body on Tap.  Without them there wouldn’t be an us, and without us the world wouldn’t be worth living in.

AND, just remember ~ beer makes everything better. 


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