Updated: May 29, 2020
I don’t need to introduce yinz to IC Light, but I get paid by the word so I’m going to anyway. It’s Iron City’s more socially acceptable brother (let’s not even speak of IC Light mango). While Iron Heavy is a classic, it’s an acquired taste. Nicknamed “Red-Eye” by the old brewery workers in Lawrenceville, you have to be 100% Pittsburgh to drink it habitually.
It’s a great beer to give to your idiot friends from Cleveland to score Great Lakes from them, or trade for some National Bohemian with Ravens fans. IC Light on the other hand, is a beautiful nectar with water sourced from the confluence of America’s great rivers.
Jokes aside, IC light is one of my go-to beers to the point where I don’t think much about the packaging. I mean it’s black and gold and I don’t usually drink them slow enough to really spend enough time going over the can in detail. But recently, I found myself mid-beer, checking out their Penguins themed cans.
I started to notice that something was off. There’s a Crosby-like figure,”but hmmm that’s odd,” I thought. “Number 88 — I guess they didn’t want to pay Sid.”
Upon further inspection I realized this isn’t some sort of knock-off Crosby, but instead some sort of homunculus demon thing. Those eyes! That mouth! It’s the kind of hellish visage only seen in Spanish Churches and community college art classes.
I have to assume the figure works kinda like those stupid mountains on Coors Light cans, but instead of turning blue to indicate the beer is cold (in case you’re too lazy to touch a can, I guess), the figure starts melting spontaneously if your beer gets too warm which is both way more useful and way more horrifying.
My first reaction was to assume someone on the marketing staff has questionable taste in art at best, or a healthy addiction to bath salts at worst. But I kept thinking back to this melting-man image. I’d seen things like this before in Pittsburgh.
The Mister Rogers memorial statue on the North Shore, the Lemieux statue outside of PPG, the Caliguiri statue downtown (you know, the one everyone thinks is JFK) and then of course the infamous Meltman from Kablam! (voiced by Scott Paulsen of DVE fame).
I started to think that this may not have been a simple case of terrible graphic design, but perhaps some sort of homage to an image that has become synonymous with Pittsburgh. A clever reference to the city and in line with Iron City’s marketing: a deep cut Pittsburgh reference.
The question remains, is this just a simple reference or perhaps something deeper — something more sinister? What I’m saying is that I’ve got a great script for “National Treasure 3” Where Nic Cage drinks a 30 rack of IC light and stumbles around Pittsburgh looking for images of melting men in order to find Andrew Carnegie’s lost treasure. So if anyone’s interested in making this happen, I take Venmo, checks, or Giant Eagle gift cards.