The practice of selling beer by the can coincided with the end of Prohibition in 1933. Anticipating, perhaps, a change in the political climate, American Can Company had a flat-topped steel beer can ready to go, but it had to offer to install its canning line for free before a Newark, New Jersey, brewer named Krueger would agree to package its beer in cans. In fact, Krueger was so worried its customers would reject beer in cans that it didn’t launch its new product until 1935, and chose Richmond, Virginia, as its test market. Richmond was deemed far enough away from headquarters not to hurt the brewer’s reputation if the cans were crushed by the bottled competition.

Canned beer, though, was an immediate hit, prompting National Can and Continental Can to tool up that same year. National’s first customer was Northampton, which canned its Tru-Blu brands in flat-top cans. National canned beer for numerous other small brewers, too, from Red Top in Cincinnati to King’s Brewing in Brooklyn. American Can landed big national accounts like Anheuser-Busch (maker of Budweiser), Pabst, and Ballantine. Continental was famous for the cone-topped cans it produced for Schlitz.

Cone-top cans appealed to customers because they were easy to pour, and they were popular with brewers because the cans could be slotted into existing bottling lines. There were low-profile cone tops and high-profiles ones, as well as mid-profile J-spout cans, all of which were assembled from three pieces of metal. The exception to this rule was the Crowntainer, whose concave base anchored that can’s one-piece body.

Flat tops were simpler to make and cheaper to ship than cone tops—in the end, that won the day. Because flat-top cans were ubiquitous compared to cone-top cans, which had all but disappeared by the end of the 1950s, cone tops are generally more sought after by collectors.

Another subset of beer-can collecting focuses on cans made during World War II. All beer sent to the military, which was supposed to account for 15 percent of each brewer’s output, had less alcohol in it than beer brewed for domestic consumption (3.2 percent versus 4-to-7 percent). That’s one differentiator to look for when trying to date a potential war-era can, which should also have a statement on it that reads, "Withdrawn Free of Internal Revenue Tax for Exportation." By 1944, the domestic labels used for canned military-bound beer were replaced with olive-drab packaging, which makes these cans even easier to identify.

In the postwar years, all flat-top cans had to be opened manually with a church key. In 1960, Burger Brewing of Cincinnati introduced a steel can with an aluminum lid to make this task easier for consumers. But the major change in beer cans occurred in 1962, when Pittsburgh’s Iron City Brewing canned its beer in Alcoa-made zip-top cans. Over the next two years, numerous different types of zip-top cans would be introduced, some with no instructions on the can’s tops, others with sharp edges on the tab itself, and a few that left an opening in the top of the can that collectors refer to as a dogbone for its shape. Schiltz called its zip tops "pop tops." Call them what you like, but these small, sharp strips of metal littered beaches and parks until 1975, when they were replaced by stay tabs.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Rustycans.com

Rustycans.com

What could be better than a beautifully rusted antique beer can? How about Mark Benbow’s handsome RustyCans.com w… [read review or visit site]

Red Fox Chapter

Red Fox Chapter

The guys at the Connecticut Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America have created a full-on tribute to t… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

British Beer Labels

British Beer Labels

This pre-1965 collection is organized alphabetically by brand and contains scans of seemingly thousands of beautif… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Bock Beer Labels

Bock Beer Labels

A quick tour of pre-Prohibition bock beer label designs with nice, high resolution scans. Do the whole slide show o… [read review or visit site]

Trappist Beers and Monks

Trappist Beers and Monks

An interesting site dedicated to Trappist beers and the history of the development of beer brewed by Trappist Bened… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Awesome! Jolly Scot J Spout Cone Top - Graupner Br, Harrisburg, Pa - No Reserve!Awesome Charro Flat Top Beer Can From Houston, Tx - No Reserve!Clean Pilsener Thornton, Ill J-spout Cone Top Beer CanOld Tap Select Stock Ale Cone Top Enterprise Brewing Fall River Ma Like 178-021939 Cone Top Coca Cola 1 Gallon Tin Syrup Can Super Condition #1of2 Coke1940s Cone Top Coca Cola 1 Gallon Tin Syrup Can Super Condition #2of2 CokeOld Tap Select Stock Ale Flat Top Beer Can Enterprise Brewing Fall River MassScarce Blatz English Type Ale 12 Oz. Low Profile Cone Top Beer Can-milwaukee, WiNice Indoor Sunshine Quart Cone Top Beer Can - Reading, Pa - No Reserve!Krueger Cream Ale Instructional Flat Top Beer Can Brewing Newark New Jesey K-manVirginia's Famous Lager Beer Cone Top Roanoke, Virginia Tough Cone Top!Esslinger's Premium Beer Quart Cone Top Can Philadelphia Pa Metallic Red & GoldSchlitz Lager Fbir Flat Bottom Inverted Rib Cone Top Milwaukee Wi Cap SealedWeber Waukesha 12oz Cone Top Beer Can Irtp High Grade!!Woodgrain-blatz Barrel Test Beer Can-la Crosse WisconsinProgress Select Beer Cone Top Can Oklahoma City Nice! Superior Example.Rare Sheridan Cone Top Beer CanKrueger White Variation Cream Ale Flat Top Beer Can Brewing Newark Nj Kman 89-32Rheingold "hanging R" Rare 12 Oz Irtp Beer Can Liebmann Brewing New York, NyRheingold Extra Dry Margie Mcnally Flat Top Beer Can - New York, Ny -usbc 124-10Futger’s Natural Beer Cone Top - StrongFrankenmuth Air Free Beer Irtp Cone TopEsslinger's Little Man Ale Quart Cone Top Beer CanBlatz Cone Top Olive Drab In Good ShapeCollection Of 18 Flat Top Beer CansCollection Of 18 Flat Top Beer CansNice Indoor Schmidt's Quart Cone Top Beer Can - Tough Variation - No Reserve!Rare 1935 Milwaukee Club Flat Bottom Cone Top Can Tavern TroveNice Indoor Grossvater Crowntainer Beer Can - No Reserve!Gibbons Ale Low Profile Cone Top Beer CanIrtp Clyde Cream Ale Cone Top Beer Can -enterprise Brewing Co. Fall River, Mass Pristine Pabst Blue Ribbon Genuine Dry Ale Flat Top Beer Can From Milwaukee WisRare Silver Essinger Party Quiz Old Flat Top Beer CanNice Indoor Grain Belt Special 3.2 % Cone Top Beer Can - No Reserve!Big Mac Flat Top Beer Can - Menominee, Michigan - No Reserve!Old Dutch Brand Cone Top Beer Can, Metropolis Bc, New York Rare Red Fox Cone Top Beer Can Largay Brewing Waterbury, Conn Nice Original CapGrain Belt Beer Irtp Cone Top - Minneapolis Beer - Not More Than 4% Unrolled Flat Prototype 12 Oz Beer Can - Edelbrew - (not Approved) Rare - 1947Champagne Velvet Beer Olive Drab Cone TopRed Top Ale Brewing High Profile Cone Top Beer Can Cincinnati Ohio Crown CapRhinelander - Cone Top Beer Can-12 Oz Old Steel Can- Nice Grade Cone Top Schlitz Lager Beer Irtp Flat Bottom Cone TopNice Indoor Wooden Shoe Minor Variation Cone Top Beer Can - No Reserve!Vintage Hop'n Gator Bottom Opened Beer CanNice Indoor Iroquois Beer Cone Top - Buffalo, Ny - Great Graphics! - No Reserve!Light Rock Orange Soda 32 Oz Quart Cone Top Beer Can Hartford, Connecticut Bacon1930's Abc Aztec Brewing Company Irtp Cone Top Beer Can San Diego,ca.californiaFisher's Beer Flat Top Beer Can Unrolled Flat Prototype 12 Oz Beer Can - Dixie - New Orleans La.Indoor Senate Irtp Beer Can From Washington, Dc - No Reserve!Rare 1954 Fiesta Pack Pilsner Beer Meister Brau Flat Top Beer CanDuquesne Pilsener Beer Cone TopNice Indoor Old German Minor Variation Cone Top Beer Can - No Reserve!Very Rare Pre-zip 1953 Lucky Strike Creme Soda Cone Top Pop CanNice Indoor Utica Club Cream Ale Cone Top Beer Can - No Reserve!Lot Of 6 Cone Top Beer CansBraumeister Special Pilsner 12oz Cone Top Beer Can Indoor Can. Wall Find!!Nice Indoor Stegmaier's Gold Medal Beer Cone Top, Wilkes-barre, Pa - No Reserve!Royal Bohemian Beer Cone Top - Strong

Recent News: Beer Cans

Source: Google News

Portland restaurant and bar events -- Week of 10/22 - 10/28
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com, October 22nd

Saraveza's Vintage Beer Program Cantillon Night: Hosted by Tyler Treadwell, Saraveza's in-house vintage beer guru, on Nov. 2 from 4 - 6 p.m., the event will celebrate the kick-off of Saraveza's vintage beer program with tastings of five prized vintage...Read more

Answer Man: Are old unopened Falstaff beers valuable?
Belleville News Democrat, October 20th

That's the advice of Kevin Kious, of Collinsville, one of my favorite brewmasters of breweriana knowledge. "Any value they have would depend on their age," Kious told me. "If they are from the 1970s or later they basically have no value. Beer can...Read more

No Crappy Beer @ Atlanta Beer Week
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog), October 18th

Sierra Nevada at The Porter on Wednesday; the Jekyll Beer Dinner at Southbound on Thursday; the Prairie Artisan Ales Georgia Debut at Argosy on Friday; and the Georgia Craft Beer Festival, and the Wing Cafe Rare and Vintage Beer Fest on Saturday...Read more

Raise a glass to Hohenadel beer at brewer's historic mansion in East Falls
Philly.com, October 16th

The party features a pop-up museum of regional artifacts and breweriana, period-appropriate furniture staging, live entertainment by the Big Band-era's Harry Prime, a cocktail menu, wine, cider and complimentary glasses of Coughlin's reproduction...Read more

Beer Town: Hotoberfest is gone but other beer festivals live on
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog), October 8th

The Wing Cafe in Marietta is putting its own spin on Hotoberfest with its First Annual Rare & Vintage Beer Brunch and Festival. Expect passed apps and small bites during the tasting, which takes place around the patio and tiki bar. Among the goodies on...Read more

Brewing history goes under the hammer at Camra's national breweriana auction
Burton Mail, September 30th

MORE than 160 items of brewing history went under the hammer at the national breweriana auction. The annual event, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, sells off a range of brewery-related items and advertising material from companies such as ...Read more

Breweriana enthusiasts come to Topeka to check out cans
Topeka Capital Journal, September 28th

Breweriana: Any collectible related to brewing or beer, including labels, signs, trays, openers and stationery. Cone top: A type of can topped with a spout produced from 1935 until about 1960, but most common in the 1930s and 1940s. It quickly was...Read more

Auction of Burton CAMRA breweriana coming to town hall
Burton Mail, September 25th

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has revealed that its national breweriana auction is set to take place from 11am on Saturday at Burton Town Hall. A wide range of brewery-related items and advertising material will go under the hammer including items ...Read more