‘beer today (and) gone tomorrow’: early occurrences

A jocular variant of here today (and) gone tomorrow, meaning short-lived, transitory, the phrase beer today (and) gone tomorrow has, in the course of time, been coined on separate occasions by various persons, independently from one another.
—Cf. also ‘beer o’clock’: 5 p.m. as the end of the working day.

The earliest occurrence that I have found is from one of the unconnected paragraphs making up the column Hit or Miss, published in The Chicago Daily News (Chicago, Illinois) of Monday 18th May 1931:


The gangster’s motto seems to be, “Beer today and gone tomorrow.” James Edmon Knowles.

The second-earliest occurrence that I have found is from a paragraph published in many U.S. newspapers from March to June 1933—for example in the Miami Daily News-Record (Miami, Oklahoma) of Tuesday 21st March:

Many local communities already formulating plans to ban beer by local option. Well, beer today and gone tomorrow.

The phrase occurs in this advertisement, published in the Shreveport Journal (Shreveport, Louisiana) of Wednesday 26 April 1933:

'beer today—gone tomorrow' - Shreveport Journal (Shreveport, Louisiana) - 26 April 1933

Things of Interest
BEER today—Gone tomorrow.
What great radio actor is named after two bottles of beer? JACK PEARL. *
“Take care of your feet—If you don’t—Who Will?”
Any style in White, Gray or Blonde Kid
$1.98 Pr.
Highest quality shoes in town at $1.98 Pair.
627 Texas St.

(* Jack Pearl (Jake Perlman – 1894-1982) was a U.S. actor and writer. I have found no information on a beer called Jack, but Pearl beer was originally brewed by the Pearl Brewing Company, established in 1883 in San Antonio, Texas.)

Finally, the following is from the column Pen Feathers, by Kathryn Stanton, published in the Clovis New Mexico Evening News-Journal (Clovis, New Mexico) of Monday 28th September 1936:

It is rumored that the Republicans had very little hope until the recent rains came along and made a stream in the middle of which horses may be changed next November.
A Texas man recently drank a keg of beer and died the following day and the girl next door says it just proves the old saying, “Beer today and gone tomorrow.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.