Wisconsin antique bottle and advertising club

This Bud’s for You

While I try very hard to limit my bottle collection to strictly Wisconsin items, I find myself unable to resist an out-of-state bottle from time to time. This happened to me again when Club member Lee Bernard came up with an early Missouri bottle that spoke to me. In fact, it blew me away. It is an applied lip heavily whittled beer embossed E. ANHEUSER & CO. BREWING ASSOCIATION ST. LOUIS. What shocked me about it is its size – a whopping one-gallon capacity, it stands 16.5” tall and weighs 4.5 lbs empty – simply an amazing piece of glass. Lucky for me it has serious damage because otherwise it would be hard for me to justify keeping a top shelf bottle of this caliber this as a window bottle. 

Who knew such a thing existed? Apparently, I must live under a rock because it seems that just about anybody who collects beer bottles knows of it. I have followed national bottle auctions for many years and don’t remember ever seeing one sell. They are rare but not super rare, with probably over dozen of the two embossing varieties known. A bottle like this should draw national attention. It is truly the king of bottled beers.

It was blown at the Louisville Glass Works. Half-gallon so called “picnic” bottles became very popular in the mid-west in the 1890’s, but this is something different - twenty years older and twice the size. With its impractical size and probably limited production, it may have been made for display or some special event.  The embossed “BREWING ASSOCIATION” in the company name which helps pinpoint the age to right around 1879-1880. Bottles with this embossing are known in at least quart, mini and possibly other sizes too. The gallon-size bottles are also found without the “Brewing Association”. 

I have to believe that Anheuser was the only American brewer to use gallon sized bottles but then again, I may once again be proven to be clueless about some of the great bottles from outside of Wisconsin.

Author: Peter Maas
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Categories: Discovery, BreweryNumber of views: 2886


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