John Barleycorn character jug tankard modeled by Stanley J. Taylor and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, in a 1988 special edition of 500 commissioned by American Express. As the personification of malt liquor, the amiable John Barleycorn was popularized by Robert Burns in his renowned poem, "Tam O'Shanter": "Inspiring bold John Barleycorn, What dangers thou canst make us scorn!" Burns represents poor John as being crushed between two millstones and this undoubtedly accounts for the flat-faced shape of the jug! With his merry grin the result of imbibing a bit too much, this gentleman is a familiar figure in old English ballads, including "A Pleasant New Ballad of the Bloody Murther of Sir John Barleycorn", where he is even portrayed as a knight. Twisted barley stalks form the handle of the jug.