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to look for when trying to date a potential war-era can, which should also have a statement on it that reads, "Withdrawn Free of Internal Revenue Tax for Exportation."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

Old Tap Export Lager Beer Low Profile Cone Top Can Enterprise Brewing Fall RiverKrueger Cream Ale Instructional Flat Top Beer Can Brewing Newark New Jesey K-manProgress Select Beer Cone Top Can Oklahoma City Nice! Superior Example.Rare Pabst Blue Ribbon Bock Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-opening InstructionsNice Rare Clean+ Canadian Green "black Horse Ale" Cone Top Beer Can Bottle Sign*rare* New Philadelphia Ohio Brewing Co.john Bull Conetop Beer Can*must See*Rare Old Empty Cone Top Beer Can From CubaRainier Beer Light Beer Can Pull Top Ring Top Sick's Rainier Seattle WaVery Rare Nm++ Canadian "carling's Black Label Lager" Cone Top Beer Can SignBlatz Milwaukee Green Christmas Flat Top Beer Can Milwaukee Wisconsin CleanNice Rare Full Canadian Gold "black Horse Ale" Cone Top Beer Can Bottle Sign Rare Star Banner Ale Cone Top Irtp Beer Can Star Brewing Company Boston, Mass. Griesedieck Bros. Crowntainer Beer Can-st Louis-missouriWhoa! Schmidt Scenic Wagon Train Flattop Beer Can Rare Red Fox Cone Top Beer Can Largay Brewing Waterbury, Conn Nice Original CapFamous Narragansett Ale Flat Top Beer Can Unrolled Flat Prototype 12 Oz Beer Can "heileman's" - La Crosse Wis.Very Clean Canadian Carling's Red Cap Cone Top Bottle Sign Tin Litho Beer CanScarce Gold Medal Extra Pale Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-opening InstructionsRed Top Ale Brewing High Profile Cone Top Beer Can Cincinnati Ohio Crown CapCollection Of 15 Flat Top Beer CansSix Oertels '92 Lager Cone Top Beer Cans By Oertel Brewing Co & CarrierGoebel Bock Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-oakland, Ca.Spearman's Straight Eight Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer CanAcme Bull Dog Ale Flat Top Beer Can San Francisco California Bottle Cap CrownVery Rare Nm++ Canadian Alexander Keith's Stag's Head Ale Cone Top Beer Can SignWhoa! Grand Prize Flattop Beer Can- Texas Beauty!!Burkhardt Brewing Custom Brewed Flat Top Beer Can Akron Ohio Rubber City 49-09Vintage Empty Cone Top Beer Can Lamp / Barbarossa / 923-1012 Regal Pale Brewing Flat Top Beer Can Opener Crown Cap Ski Skier San Francisco CaWhoa! Gold Grand Prize Striped Flattop Beer Can- Texas Beauty!!Pabst Blue Ribbon Bock Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-milwaukee, Wi.James Bond 007 Beer CanClean Blatz Old Heidelberg Special Pilsner Low Profile Cone Top Beer Can Unrolled Flat Prototype 12 Oz Beer Can - Beveryck Bbbb - Albany N YNorthern Beer 12 Oz. Cone Top Beer Can-superior, Wi.Famous Abc Beer {hi-pro} Cone Top Can Aztec Brewing Company San Diego CaliforniaLight Rock Orange Soda 32 Oz Quart Cone Top Beer Can Hartford, Connecticut BaconVintage Fox Head 400 Beer Flat Top Beer Can Senate Beer Flat Top Beer Can. Cristian Heurich Washington D.c. Real Nice!Goetz Pale Near Beer 12 Oz. Cone Top Beer Can-st. Joseph, Mo.Moosehead Cone-top Beer CanHaffenreffer Pickwick Ale Flat Top Beer Can Boston Ma Caps CrownsTough Shore Club Flat Top Beer Can ( Usbc# 133-7 ) Eagle Br;catasauqua,paBlue Shield-falstaff Test Beer Can-st Louis-missouriBurgermeister Pale Beer Can San Francisco Brewing Ca Flat Top Green Like 46-32 Unrolled Flat Prototype 12 Oz Beer Can - Brrauhaus -metropolis - Trenton N JVery Nice Esslinger’s Premium Ale Irtp Quart Cone Top Beer Can Rare Version Stegmaier Gold Medal Cone Top Beer Can Wilkes-barre, Pa Nice CapVintage Trommers Red Letter Beer Flat Top Beer Can Paul Bunyan Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-waukesha, Wi.Fountain Brew "strong" 12 Oz. Cone Top Beer Can-fountain City, Wi.1950's White Highlander Flat Top Beer Can Missoula, MontanaBest's Hapsburg Brand Quart Cone TopTough Swinger Malt Liquor Pull Tab Beer Can ( Usbc# 129 - 28 ) La, CalifRenner Premium Beer Cone Top Can - Renner Brewing Co. Youngstown, OhioBurkhardt Special Beer Cone Top Can - Burkhardt Brewing Co. Akron, Ohio31 Rainier Beer Flat Top Beer Cans + 4 Pull Tab Tops / Time Designs -0123Old Georgetown Flat Top Beer Can. Cristian Heurich Washington D.c. Nice Shape.Grain Belt Cone Top Rare Gold

Recent News: Beer Cans

Source: Google News

Portland restaurant and bar events -- Week of 10/29 - 11/4
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com, October 29th

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

2014 Holiday Ale Festival Beer List & Tickets
The Daily Meal, October 28th

The festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state, underscoring the event's reputation as...Read more

Portland's 100 best bars: Bar Tab 2014
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com, October 28th

Kask (1215 S.W. Alder St., 503-241-7163, grunerpdx.com/kask): Old kitchen scales and vintage beer cans decorate the intimate space, but the cocktails are anything but dusty antiques. Kask freshens up the classics for modern ..... living room for many...Read more

The Seasoned Collector: November shows for collectors of all stripes
San Jose Mercury News, October 28th

The 31st annual Beer Can and Breweriana Show goes on Nov. 7 at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, 2601 E. Lake Ave. Nearly 60 booths will sell signs, bottles, cans, coasters, advertising pieces, tap knobs, plus more. Hours: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. ...Read more

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

Raise a glass to Hohenadel beer at brewer's historic mansion in East Falls
Philly.com, October 15th

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