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I'll Take Seconds

Consumers' good memories have them clamoring for the brands they used to love.

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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Slither into some Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, open a Fresca and whip up a batch of Shrinky Dinks; it's time to talk brand revival. Bygone brands, with their built-in goodwill and former ubiquity, may serve you well.

Tom Bendheim, 39, saw brand-resurrection potential in a once-popular beer, Rheingold. Founded in 1883, Rheingold Brewing Co. had 35 percent of the New York market by 1940; John Wayne, Bob Hope and Paul Newman all served as spokesmen. Bendheim researched the beer's history and struck a deal with Stroh to "buy" the Rheingold brand by paying Stroh royalties should the revitalization be a success. The royalty deal works well for both parties--Bendheim didn't have to pay out of pocket for the rights, and Stroh would have lost nothing if the relaunch tanked. With 2003 projected sales of $1.4 million and $45 million by 2007, Rheingold CEO Bendheim believes today's consumers want "a brand they can trust. If the brand has an authentic and classic heritage, they're more likely to embrace it."

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