While there is no substitute for experience, understanding the value of and beer bottle. Any one of these factores is frequently not sufficient in and of itself to make a beer bottle valuable. It is a combination of these factors that can determine the value.

* 1. Supply and demand
* 2. age
* 3. rarity
* 4. condition
* 5. color
* 6 esthetic appeal
* 7. embossing and design (labels)
* 8. category (what brewery, town)
* 9. size, shape
* 10. individuality
* 11. historic significance
* 12. locale (your own town or state)

Talk to as many people that you can and read as many books that you can find. What is worth alot to you may not be worth anything in the collecting world. Rarity is the hardest one for me to determine. Alot of beer bottle breweries, do short term brewing.They may only make beer for the area they are in. These days Beer bottles most of the time are clear or brown, that is it. The cost to make other colors is just to much. Condition makes alot of differance. Labels, chips, or cracks are looked at the most under Rarity. Alot of beer bottle collectors will buy a bottle in any condition they can at a good low price untill they find a better one to take it's place. Some beer bottle collectors only collect certain Categories like lets say, Chicago beers, NY beers, UK beers, Japan beers, Sacramento beers, or beer bottles that have birds, dogs, airplanes, bridges, lakes, I collect all. I have not category that I go by. If it looks good and I want it I get it.


VERY RARE-------------------- ONLY 10 TO 20 EXIST

RARE----------------------------20 TO 40 EXIST


SCARCE------------------------NO MORE THEN 100 EXIST



The passing of a bill in 1919 to outlaw alcoholic drinks was, of course, a hammer-blow to brewers in the US. Some kept going by brewing 'near beer' making non-alcoholic drinks such as malted milk and soda, even making cheese. A year the repeal of prohibition in 1933, only 756 breweries had reopened. By 1940 beer production was at preProhibition levels, but with only half the number of breweries.. Mergers and takovers were thinning out the breweries that had survived. Between 1949 and 1958, 185 American breweries closed or sold out. By 1961 there were only 230 breweries in operation, of which just 40 were independently-owned. In 1977 the number had fallen to fewer than 100.



Government Warning: (1) According to the Surgeon General women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy -etc. This statement dates a label as 1989+.

Multiple Breweries listed: You can often zero in on a time period based on the cities listed and the opening/closing dates of the corresponding breweries. Opening/closing dates for the Anheuser-Busch, breweries illustrate:

St Louis, MO 1870 - date Jacksonville, FL 1969 - date
Newark, NJ 1951 - date Merrimack, NH 1970 - date
Los Angeles, CA 1954 - date Williamsburg, VA 1972 - date
Miani, FL 1959 - 1961 Fairfield, CA 1976 - date
Tampa, FL 1959 - date Baldwinsvifle, NY 1983 - date
Houston, TX 1966 - date Fort Collins, CO 1988 - date
Columbus, OH 1968 - date

An A-B label, or any collectable for that matter, which lists only St. Louis, Newark and Los Angeles, may be estimated as circa 1954-59, since neither Miami or Tampa are mentioned. Likewise, ten cities ending in Fairfield would date an item as circa 1976-83

Internal Price Code markings date a label as 1973+, but not all 1973+ labels carry IPC markings.

ZIP Codes date a label as 1965+, but not all 1965+ labels carry zip codes.

Foil Paper Labels began to be popular in the late 1940's.

Dates:Some labels are perforated, stamped or printed with the date of production.

IRTP Labels: The Internal Revenue Tax Paid statement was required on labels from the end of prohibition,1933, until March of 1950. Removal was generally sharp, however, a few IRTP labels used as late as 1953 have been found. Thus, IRTP labels are c1933-50.

U-type permit numbers were required on beer labels from the end of prohibition, 1933, to September 1935. However, notification to remove permit numbers was slow and brewers were allowed to use up existing label inventories. Many permit numbers were dropped during 1936, however exceptions as late as 1941 can be found. U-type permit labels are generally considered c1933-36. Occasionally you run across a label with a U-type permit without the IRTP statement; an obvious error that the federal label examiner would be quick to jump on. Labels which show a U-type permit number but not the brewery of origin can usually be traced by the permit number. For example, Dad's Beer, Bottled for 905 Liquor Stores, St. Louis, MO, Permit MO. U-920 can be traced to the Peerless Brewing Co. of Washington, MO through the permit no.

Jody Farra & Phil Myers book The Post Prohibition Brewery Guide 1933-1983 lists the permit numbers that the Treasury Department has on file, but the file is incomplete. Its fun to add to these lists from old beer labels. Here is an example for the state of Missouri,

U-900 Anheuser-Busch, Inc St. Louis
U-901 Falstaff Brewing Corp. Forest Park Blvd St Louis
U-902 M. K. Goetz Brewing Co. St. Joseph
U-903 Griesedieck Bros. Brewery Co. St Louis
U-905 Fischbach Brewing Co. St. Charles
U-906 Schorr-Kolksclneider Brewing Co. St. Louis
U-907 Falstaff Brewing Corp. Michigan Ave St. Louis
U-908 Capitol Brewery Co Jefferson City
U-909 Appleton Brewery & Ice Co Old Appleton
U-910 Imperial Brewing Co. Kansas City
U-911 Louis Obert Brewing Co. St Louis
U-912 Hyde Park Breweries Assn., Inc. St. Louis
U-913 Carondelet Brewing Co St. Louis
U-917 McGovern Brewery Co. Old Appleton
U-918 A. B. C. Brewing Corp St. Louis
U-920 Peerless Brewing Co. Washington
U-921 Crescent Brewing Co. Marionville

Numbers U-900 to U-913 were listed in Jody and Phil's book. The others were added from old label finds. I really get a buzz when I identify a new permit number. I'm getting older!

Prohibition Labels: The feds referred to the near beer produced during prohibition as Cereal Beverages. Cereal Beverages could not use the word Beer on the label and had to carry the less than 1/2 of 1% alcohol content statement. L-type permit numbers appeared on Cereal Beverages starting around 1928. I'm not sure when they stopped; it may also have been around 1936, however its a moot point as most brewers dropped cereal beverages in favor of the real thing as soon as prohibition ended. Its safe to generalize prohibition labels with L-type permits as c1928-33 and prohibition labels without L-type permits as c1920-1928. Just remember there are exceptions. A few brewers continued to produce cereal beverages afler prohibition. Jacob Schrnidt of St. Paul and M. K. Goetz of St. Joseph, MO offer examples of L-type permit labels in the 1933-35 period and both continued to produce less than 1/2 of 1% alcohol beverages (w/o L-permits) well after 1935. See more below.

Pre-Pro Labels: Obviously, these date prior to 1920. Labels which carry the Guaranteed by the Pure Food and Drugs Act offune3o, 1906 statement seem to be c1906-12. Labels that list the size and/or alcohol content are generally 1912+ and sometimes later as the start date for this information seems to vary state to state. Pre 1900 labels can usually be identified by their distinctive lithography style. See more below.

Copyright © 1991 Bob Kay


More on World War I-Prohibition-Early Repeal Labels


World War I, Prohibition and Repeal led to some quite interesting changes in US beer labeling. It's fun to study these changes and learn how to read and date your labels. New information is presented since this subject was first discussed in the Collectors Comer of BL1.

Prohibition Labels: First lets study the onset of prohibition. The declaration of war with Germany(1917) and the final push for prohibition came almost simultaneously. All US distilleries were closed down in August 1917 by the wartime Food Control Law and in December1917 the alcoholic content of beer was limited to 2.75%w by presidential decree - another wartime conservation measure. The 18th Amendment which decreed national prohibition was ratified during January 1919 to take effect one year later, and the Volstead Act which established methods of enforcing prohibition passed later in 1919. At first a few brewers were licensed to produce higher alcohol beers for medicinal purposes but the dry forces moved quickly to stop this with the Willis-Campbell bill which passed November 1921.

As early as l9l6-l7 the merits of cereal beverages(1/2of 1% v) were being touted as the reality of national prohibition began to sink in. After all, 25 states were already dry so the national market for beer was quickly shrinking.

During December 1917 the alcoholic content ofbeerwaslimitedto2.75% as aWorld War I conservation measure; c1918-1920.

Fancy Descriptions such as Full Pre-War Strength were prohibited by Beer Labeling regulationspassed March1935. Curiously, this statement on a 1934-35 label referred to pre-1918 WorIdWarIbeer'.

Anheuser-Busch introduced Bevo, its new nonalcoholic beverage, in 1916 and elsewhere the flood of cereal beverages (near beer) wer introduced during the 1917-18 period. These included such brand names as Pablo from Pabst, Famo from Schlitz, Chrismo from Christian Moerlein, LUX-O from Stroh's, Tivoline from Tivoli-Union, Mannah from Coors and so on. These gradually replaced the real brew as the various states succumbed to prohibition and the national brewers tried to prepare for the inevitable.

Labels showing the wartime alcohol level of 2.75% are not common. Off hand, the Jacob Ruppert examples are the only ones I can think of. Ruppert pushed hard to get the 2.75% w alcohol level defined as nonalcoholic but the dry forces would have none of it and the level of 0.5% v prevailed. Also, the effort to produce beer for medicinal purposes was almost stopped before it got started. The Schlitz label pictured in the Collectors Corner of BL5 is the only example that comes to mind. In 1924 an effort was made to sell Malt Tonic's with 2% alcohol and 12% solids. These were intended to be sold in drug stores with doctors prescriptions. After a few months the dry's were successful in getting the solids content raised to 18% which resulted in a syrupy product too heavy to drink as a beverage.Throughout the prohibition era a variety of malt tonic and cereal beverage products were tried but these generally met only limited success. Examples of prohibition Malt Tonic labels with a variety of alcohol and solid contents can be found. Those with the H-type permit number denote a higher alcohol content, Cereal beverage labels were notable in that the word beer was prohibited on the label and the alcohol content was shown as not more than 1/2 ofl%v. Sometime around 1928 Federal L-typepermit numbers (L#) began to appear on cereal beverage labels.

Early Repeal Labels: Now lets study the onset ofrepeal and the effect on beer labeling. As a result of the Cullen-Harrison Act, 3,2% w (or 4% v) beer could be sold starting April 7, 1933 in the twenty states that had repealed prohibition. The remaining states fell into line fairly quickly with Kansas being the last in 1937. However, the return of beer couldn't have come at a worse time. The country was in the middle of the great depression and the resources to restart a business which had been mostly dormant for 13 years were not easy to come by. Of course, the success of the bootleggers gave the impression that brewing would be instantly profitable, and everybody and his brother wanted in on the instant riches. However, the harsh realities of prohibitions effect on the brewing industry coupled with the depression were all too obvious when by June 1933 only 31 breweries were back in business. However, the lure of brewing was overpowering and twelve months later the number had risen to a whopping 756! By December, 1933 the 21st Amendment was ratified and all federal restrictions on the alcohol limit of beer were removed. This led to a temporary horsepower race with alcohol contents. while it was generally agreed that a beer with about 4.5% alcohol was most palatable. Demand for beer with a kick led to higher and higher alcohol contents and of course all kinds of advertising claims to accompany them. However, it didn't take long before complaints about flavor and so on led to a general retreat in alcohol levels to the more palatable 4.5%ish levels. Repeal labels had to show the Internal Revenue Tax Paid (irtp) statement and the U-type federal permit number (U#). By March 1.1935 new beer labeling regulations were passed which eliminated fancy descriptions appearing on labels such as extra strength, high test, high proof, full old time alcohol strength, prewar strength, bonded, certified, and so on. About the same time the requirement to show permit numbers on labels was rescinded, although implementation dragged out for some time after that.

I have often puzzled over early repeal labels that claimed prewar strength.Since the last war started in 1917 and US involvement lasted only 18 months, it seemed a little late to be referring to that war. However, these claims are clearly referring to beer like it was before the December 1917 restrictions on the alcoholic content of beer. I guess subconsciously, they would like to think that the wartime restrictions plus the 13 years of prohibition from 1920 to 1933 didn't really happen. I'm sure the claim was understood by the old time brewers, but to the beer buying public, I wonder? In any event the new beer labeling restrictions of March 1935 put a quick end to a wide range of fancy claims that were outgrowth's of unrestricted repeal beer.

Prohibition label dating:

c1916-28 w/o L#, ½ of 1%, the word beer prohibited

c1928-33 with L# ,½ of 1%, the word beer prohibited

c1918-20 Wartime Beer, nmt 2.75% w, non-intoxicating

c1920-21 Prohibition Beer, For medicinal purposes only

Repeal label dating:

Apr33 to Dec 33, irtp, U#, not more than 3.2% w (4% v) only!

Jan 34 to Mar35, irtp, U#, No alcohol limits, Fancy descriptions allowed.

Mar 35 toDec 36, irtp, U#, no alcohol limits, No fancy descriptions

Jan 37 to Mar50, irtp, No U#, No alcohol limits, No fancy descriptions


A recreation of an ale from 1503, based on a recipe in a book by RICHARD ARNOLD called Customs of London, Is the earliest example of a beer that
genuinely used hops. The original ingredients were listed as 10 quarters of malt, 2 quarters of wheat, 2 quarters of oats, and 40 pounds of hops to make
60 barrels of beer. Home0brewing expert Graham Wheeler, who recreated the beer, smoked the malt over a wood fire in a garden barbeque. ( At the time,
all malt was kilned over wood fires.) Wheeler used Goldling hops, which did not exist at the time but there are no sixteenth-century varieties available
today. The beer had an original starting gravity of 1065 degrees and a finished with 6.7 percent alcohol. As a result of the use of wheat, the beer had a
hazy bronze colour and a pronounced smokey and herbal aroma. There was more smoked malt character on the palate, with a resiny underpinning from
the hops, while the finish was intensely dry and bitter with dark fruit notes.



  While beer has a long history as a beverage in Sumeria, Mesopotamia and Egypt, by the time the Roman Empire, the drink of choice                 around the Mediterranean was wine. The Romans planted Vineyards wherever they settled, and the Roman legionnaires drank wine
                daily, as did most other citizens. When Roman soldiers encountered the tribal people of Gaul and the British Isles, however, they
                found themselves battling serious beer drinkers.
                    To the ancient Celts, beer was a preude to battle. The effects of alcohol ameliorated the natural fear of injury or death in armed conflict.
                    The strength of the Celtic attack lay in the ferocity of the first onslaught. It was a power generated by a belief in the afterlife, a desire
                 to gain glory, and a battle hysteria created by the building crescendo of noise and chanting, often enhanced still further by alcohol.
                 These are, in fact the usual methods that fighting forces throughout the ages have needed to give courage at the moment of battle.
                     Like the Vikings, the Celts often fought naked. Was this a consequence of the shedding of inhabitions brought about by beer drinking ?
                 As a battle strategy, it seems to have had only limited success. Soldiers usually keeep their clothes on these days, but beer still retains
                  its ability to create a fighting mood, as any bartender knows..........
      MORE TO COME ....................................




Our first mystery bottle was found in 1968, and we soon began to classify it as a flavored beer. After seventeen years of reseach, that name seems to fit the classification of the type of bottle best. It certainly isn't a mineral water, a pop or soda bottle, or a regular hops bottle. It seems to be in a class all by itself.

An old store in Youngstown, New York was being emptied for remodeling into apartments. When clearing the basement of colorfull advertising posters from the late 1800's, a quantity of old bottles embossed D. DAVIS were found. The bottles were sapphire blue, emerald green, and one black olive-amber, 10" x 3 1/2", smooth base, and had twelve panels. As the bottles were brought up, a relative of the D. DAVIS family saw them and took them home, giving one or two to an antiques dealer who was with her.A few of the bottles were dispersed among the relatives, including an entire case of emerald green reportedly taken to the East Coast. The remaining sapphire blue bottles and the black glass could be seen in many of the windows of her house.

We were just begining to collect old bottles in the mid 1960's and my husband, who was a Fuller Brush man at the time, saw the blue bottles in the window and was able to purchase one, then two more. Finally, shortly after the lady died, we were able to purchase the black bottle, The remaining bottles were kept in the family, no one knew just what they contained, but they had probably been returnable, as they showed much wear, especially on the base.

Soon after, a second, similar bottle embossed J.B.G. came into our collection from a bottle collector. The collector's brother-in-law
had found the bottle while hunting in the local woods and had given it to her. Again, no clue to the contents, but the bottle had much wear on the base. The bottle was also sapphire blue.

The third bottle we found was originally dug near the Harrison Radiator Div. GMC plant in the town of Lockport. Again, sapphire blue in color, paneled, same dimentions, but with an iron pontiled embossed DR. CRONK, obverse R. Mc C. Although much has been written about BR. CRONK, we have not found reference to the initials R. Mc C. We did find a pottery bottle of the same style embossed sapphire beer.

By 1971 we had added a beautifull, sparkling blue flavored beer embossed M. RICHARDSON. This bottle was very similar in style to the others, but did not have the pannels. This bottle fell from the ceiling of a home on Chestnut Ridge in wilson, N.Y., during remodeling. The bottle was full of a varnish-like substance we thought it was amber. In fifteen min. we had cleaned the bottle and found it was blue in color.

Quickly following the purchase of the M. RICHARDSON bottle we were able to buy another flavored beer embossed H.H.P. from a digger in Shellby, NEW YORK. We then bought a variant to the H.H.P. embossed H.H.P. & CO. that had been found in some woods. And finally some pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

In the 1970's we belonged to an antiques club that met at the Niagara Country Historical Society building in Lockport. We gave a program about old bottles and at that time met Francis Swanson, A local history buff. Visiting with Fran, we discovered he owned a notebook filled with 68 leaves containing 267 documents from the business of M. RICHARDSON. He loaned us the book and allowed us to photograph several of the receipts. When Fran passed away a few years ago, we purchased the book from his widow.

The most exciting document we found in the notebook was the bill of sale of the H.H PARKER & CO. business to Claussa Richardson, as quuoted exactly: "LOCKPORT: August 14, 1860. 



For and in consideration of the sum of One Hundred and Twenty Dollars to me this day paid I hereby sell, assign and transfer all my rights title and interest in the Beer Shop Company known as H.H. PARKER & CO. to Claussa Richardson." This bill sale was signed H.H. Parker.

A call to the Niagara County Historian verified a listing in the 1859 Lockport City Directory of H.H. Parker, owner of a lemon beer business at 6 Lock Street.The call also confirmed that Claussa Richardson was the wife of Mortimer M. Richardson, who continued to make lemon beer untill at least 1866. The record book has numerous tax recepts to confirm this, one read: "NO. 2270 UNITED STATES INTERNAL REVENUE Collector's Office District of Lockport Sept. 17, 1866 Received of M.M. Richardson Twelve 70/100 Dollars for Excise Tax on August Lemon Beer $12.70. Annual Watch 1 $1 and (unreadable) $1. Total $14.70 being amount assessed on August 1 for 1866. M.L. Burrell, DR. Collector."


Richardson purchased his bottles from the Lancaster Glass Works, Lockport Glass Manufacturing Co., Lockport Glass Works (same business location, different proprietors), and the Whitney Glass Works. On 5/14/67 he purchased 3 cask 1 bb1 3 86/144 quart beer bottles for $53.96 from the Lockport Glass Manufacturing Co. Although the color of the bottles is not mentioned, and we do not see tax records after 1866, the bill does say QUART BEER BOTTLES.

Our collection also includes an emerald green M. Richardson, paneled, found on Sand Hill, close to Rapids, N.Y., and an aqua example, no panels, found in the basement of a home in Barker, N.Y. In 1983 we purchased an emerald green J.B.G. from a young man named Jim who was remodeling a house on Harvey Avenue in Lockport N.Y. in 1858. While deepening his basement, he unearthed several fragments and one whole bottle. Jim's dad thought the bottle was worthless and tried to throw it out. Jim knew we collected old bottles and sold it to us, going home with enough cash to show his dad old bottles did have worth. 

Other examples of flavored beers include a pint Boughton and Chase, Iron pontil, ten panels, sapphire blue, dug in a garden on Route 104 between Lockport and Gasport. Burt Spiller from Rochester kindly supplied following from the Rochester Daily Union, Sept. 23, 1852, page 3 col.2: "About 2 o'clock this morning a small wooden building owned and occupied by Boughton and Chase, Situated on the Feeder nesr MT. Hope Ave., Was totally destroyed by fire. The premises were used for the manufacture of Cronk's Beer and Gleason's Mineral Water. The property was insured for $1500, which, the owner say's will not cover the loss. The origin of the fire is unknown. The building was nearly destroyed before the general alarm had been spead." We once owned a blue E.TOUSLEY CRONK'S BEER, twelve sided.

All of the flavored beer in our collection show considerable wear, and were probably returnable. At one time Richardson received credit from the Lockport Glass Works for glass culler. Although many of our bottles were dug, they are all in very good condition.

Beer made from the blending of various roots and barks was popular in Europe and America since times. Ingredients could be spikened, ginger, sarsaparilla, wintergreen, of fruits such as lemon. Yeast and sugar were added to the flavorings and water. As the product aged the sugar were converted into alcohol of about 2 to 5 %, the same alcohol content as beer.

Thus we conclude that the name-flavored beer is appropriate for this class of bottle. This category is uncommon with less then 100 examples known to us. All of the bottles we have seen came from the local area within a hundred-mile radius covering Niagara, Orleans and Monroe classify the bottles as flavored beers untill someone can convince us that anouther classification is more appropriate. Below I have put several pictures of some bottles. VERY RARE FROM THE COLLECTION OF ERIC SCHMETTERLING.


We start with the fisrt one on the very top..

1) WM COOK, GREEN (pint size)

2) S. SMITH / AUBURN, NY (cobalt blue)

3) J.B.G. (cobalt blue)

4) J.B.G. (green)

5) H.T.P. (cobalt blue)

6) E. TOUSLEY / CRONK'S BEER (cobalt blue)

7) E. TOUSLEY / CRONK'S BEER (green)

8) H. SPROUTT / TORONTO, (light blue)

9) R. GREEN / TORONTO, (cobalt blue)

10) H.H.P. & CO. (blue)

11) H.H.P. (blue)

12) RME CO. (cobalt blue)

13) D. DAVIS (black olive green)

14) H. SPROATT / TORONTO, (cobalt blue)

15) BOUGHTON & CHASE (pint size) (cobalt blue)

16) D. DAVIS (cobalt blue)

17) M. RICHARDSON (cobalt blue)

18) M. RICHARDSON (green cylinder)

19) M. RICHARDSON (aqua cylinder)

20) R. McGOUN (cobalt blue)

21) DR. CRONK (cobalt blue)

22) DR. CRONK --- RMcC (on the reverse side) (cobalt blue)

23) B & G (cobalt blue)

24) M. RICHARDSON (green)


DO YOU NOW???????

That beer was drank form straws made of gold??? That's right GOLD. They have found Gold Made straws in Tombs That are well over 1,000 years old. They have also found Pictures of male and females Seated down drinking beer out of wide-mouthed jars Through tubes. The tubes were made of gold. They also have Reports of people drinking beer through straws in 400bc.

"Beer is living proof that God wants us to see us happy"
By Benjaman Franklin

"The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk they're sober"
By G.K.Chesterton.

"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer"
By Henry Lawson

"O Beer! O Hodgson, Guinness, Allsopp, Bass! Names that should be on every infant's tongue"
By C.V. Calverley.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence ??
By Stephen Wright

"Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder"
By Just sounded good.

"I will kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer"
By Homer Simpson



beer bottle collectors
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