Studio Graphics' other fake beers like El Brazo, Cerveza Clara, and Rummel's personal favorite American Colonial, which is a "very microbrewery Northeastern beer but also can be read as Budweiser-y," can be seen all over TV in shows like Parks and Recreation, Shameless, and The Walking Dead. But it's Heisler that's their most consistent top seller. "We sell at least one bottle of Heisler a day," says Rummel, which leads to hundreds or even thousands being sold each year. Over the course of seven seasons, New Girl bought over 40 cases, which is nearly a thousand bottles, all on its own.
The details of how the Heisler brand was born, though, are a little harder to pin down. Rummel says that each of the company's designs are a collaborative effort of multiple designers, which is why after 20 years, Heisler's origin story is a bit of a mystery. "I've talked to some of our old-timers, and no one can remember just who created it," says Rummel, who's worked at Studio Graphics for the past three years after previously working as a prop master. It's also hard to pinpoint the first time Heisler appeared on TV. "It could have been created for one project or multiple," she says, noting they work on upwards of a hundred projects at once, making it easy to lose track of specifics.
The old-timers also can't remember where the name Heisler came from, though, Rummel assumes it's "somebody's name somewhere," making it possibly one of the longest running inside jokes on TV. Studio Graphics is the one laughing all the way to the bank, though, since they now own the Heisler name. "We were the first people, according to our lawyer, that put a patent on a fake brand," Rummel says, which was difficult to explain legally. "It's like, ‘It's not real, but we're still trying to patent it like it is.' It's one of those things where other people don't do it, so it's really exciting to be on the forefront of that."