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to look for when trying to date a potential war-era can, which should also have a statement on it that reads, "Withdrawn Free of Internal Revenue Tax for Exportation."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]

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    

White Horse Oi Flat Top Beer Can Westminster Prima Manhattan Chicago Illinois IlIncredible 1930's Schlitz Beer Cone Top Beer Can Countertop Light Up DisplayRare Vintage Kuebler Pilsner Beer Can Cone Top Easton Pennsylvania007 James Bond 12 Oz Beer Can Pull Tab Air SealedSchmidt's First Premium Graphic Irtp Old Cone Top Beer Can Fitzgerald's Pale Ale Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can + Cap Troy, New York Ny FitzBlatz Old Heidelberg Cone Top Beer Can; 1940's Harley Davidson Vintage Early Hydra-glide Fork Oil Cone Top Can Paper Label Scarce Prizer Premium Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-reading, Pa.Fitzgerald's Lager Beer Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can+cap Troy, New York Ny FitzQueens Brau Select Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-cumberland, Md.Silver Bar Sparkling Ale Flat Top Beer Can-southern Brewing Co-tampa FloridaYuengling Premium Beer Cone TopKrueger Finest Oi/irtp Flat Top Beer CanNeuweiler's Pilsner Beer Cone Top Beer Can Allentown, Pa - Rare!!!!A+ Cream Old Topper Snappy Ale Beer Can Irtp J-spout Cone Top Rochester,new YorkBurger Ale Cone Top Beer Can Burger Brewing Cincinnati Ohio Oh With Crown CapRenner Golden Amber Cone Top Beer Can, Youngstown, OhioNice Oltimer 12oz Cone Top Beer Can--star Peerless Brewing Co.belleville, Il.Irtp Iroquois Indian Head Beer Cone Top Beer Can Buffalo New YorkNos Rare Vintage Harley Davidson Two Cycle Motor Oil Full Cone Top Can ~ L@@k ~Barbarossa Beer 12 Oz. Cone Top Beer Can-cincinnati, OhioBavarians Old Style Beer Can Cone TopScarce Leidig’s Pilsner Style Beer Outdoor Oi Irtp Flat Top Beer CanCourage Draught Marathon Malt Beer CanA+white Old Topper Snappy Ale J-spout Cone Top Beer Can+bottle Cap Irtp New YorkOld Topper Snappy Ale Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can & Cap Rochester, New YorkVintage Made In Germany Lowenbrau Export Bier Beer Cone Top Can & CapTooths Kb 370 Ml Hm Forces Beer Can N Scale - Atlas - Lot Of (17) Beer Can Tank Car Trains!Gipps Amberlin Cone Top Beer Can Peoria Il007 James Bond Beer Can Cardboard ContainerNice Krueger Beer Early Irtp Old Cone Top Beer Can 5 Old Cone Tops And Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can 5 Old Cone Tops And Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can Hudepohl Golden Beer Can Flat Top Nice!Royal Amber Flat Top Beer Can! Wiedemann, Kentucky! Rare In Any Condition!Old Reading Beer Gus Blue J-spout Cone Top Beer CanMeister Brau Fiesta Flat Top Beer CanVintage F&s Beer Can Fuhrmann & Schmidt Zip Top Tab Tough As NailsMid 50's Tough Ortlieb's, Gorgeous Example Flat Top Beer Can OrtliebsIrtp-falstaff Cone Top Beer Can-st Louis MissouriKoehler Select 12 Oz, Cone Top Beer Can, Erie, Pa Usbc 171-275 Cone Top Beer Cans. Atlantic Ale Berghoff Cold Spring Stag DawsonsFort Pitt Beer Olive Drab Crowntainer Cone Top Can Pittsburgh Pa Withdrawn FreeKruegerirtp Cream Ale Quart Cone Top Beer Can Newark Nj3 Vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon Steel Flat Top Beer Cans Rare Kings Beer O/i And Irtp Flat Top Beer Can Brooklyn New YorkProgress Cone Top Beer Can Oklahoma City OkBlackhawn Pilsner Dull Finish Cone Top Beer Can Davenport IowaPearl Genuine Draft Pull Tab Beer Can Bottom Opened U-tab Zip Minty!Vintage Richbrau Cone Top Beer Can / Empty / 422-422Corona Cerveza Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-baltimore, Md.Old Vintage Tin Or Steel Flat Top Lone Star Beer Can San Antonio Texas TxBurger Beer Non-irtp Hi Profile Cone Top Beer Can Cincinnati Ohio Oh Cinci 1950sRhinelander Pull Tab Zip Tab Beer Can Bottom Opened And Minty!Oertels '92 Lager Beer Cone Top Can Louisville Ky Kentucky Ale Oertel's BrewingFox Deluxe Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-waukesha, Wi.Champagne Velvet Beer Irtp Cone Top - America's BeerMetallic Gold Cold Spring Cone Top Beer Can, Cold Spring, Minnesota

Recent News: Beer Cans

Source: Google News

Beerhunter: The Falstaff took over our lives but what else would we do?
Derby Telegraph, April 25th

THERE are many licensees who could make the justified claim that their pub is a way of life, even that it has taken over their lives. But there are few, I suspect, who could make the claim with as much evidence to back it up as Jim Hallows and Steph...Read more

Inaugural Art of Beer & Alabama State Homebrew Competition set for May 16
Gadsden Times, April 22nd

Food will be available to purchase, there will be a silent auction and those attending also can view the Art of Beer breweriana collection on display in the Hardin Center's Kathy Chan Exhibition Hall. Those attending also will receive a commemorative...Read more

Things to do this week: April 23
Green Bay Press Gazette, April 22nd

Annual trade show for beer can and breweriana collectors. packerchapter.com/index.php/shows/titletown-trade-a-thon-tat. Old Glory Honor Flight Fundraiser: 5:30 p.m. April 24 and 1:30 p.m. April 25 at Trinity Lutheran School, 120 S. Henry St., Green Bay...Read more

Milwaukee's Coolest Offices: 'Cool lounge,' Pabst memorabilia part of Colliers ...
Milwaukee Business Journal, April 22nd

A "cool" lounge and beer memorabilia. What more could you ask for in an office? Those are just two of the highlights of Colliers International/Wisconsin's offices located in the former Pabst Brewing Co. complex in downtown Milwaukee. See the attached ...Read more

Art of Beer sampling festival set for May 16 at Gadsden's Hardin Center
AL.com, April 21st

Attendees can sample more than 30 craft beers and bid on beer memorabilia in a silent auction. There will ... Brooks said there will be a breweriana collection on display from collectors around the state spotlighting beer and brewery memorabilia. "We...Read more

Drink Up: Delilah's Hosts Vintage Beer Fest Sunday
Chicagoist, April 11th

The Vintage Beer Fests (which happen about five times a year) each focus on a specific style of beer. This weekend's edition will be the fourth annual one devoted to barrel-aged brews. The idea behind these events, according to owner Mike MIller, isn't...Read more

'Breweriana' collector builds Rolling Rock sanctuary
Pocono Record, March 28th

LLOYDSVILLE — From the street, the home in Lloydsville looks like any other ranch-style house in the Unity village. Even from the outside, there are only a few signs of the treasure trove of Rolling Rock memorabilia preserved within a converted garage...Read more

Vintage Beer? Aficionados Say Some Brews Taste Better With Age
NPR (blog), January 9th

In the late 1970s, a young Southern California beer enthusiast named Bill Sysak began doing something quite novel at the time. He bought cases of beer and stashed the bottles in his basement to age like wine. Over several years, Sysak discovered that ...Read more