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to look for when trying to date a potential war-era can, which should also have a statement on it that reads, "Withdrawn Free of Internal Revenue Tax for Exportation."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

Kuebler Pilsener J-spout Cone Top Beer CanFrakenmuth Ale High Profile Cone Top Beer CanChief Oshkosh Beer High Profile Cone Top Beer Can & Bottle Cap Wisconsin Wisc WiHanley's Extra Pale J-spout Cone Top Beer CanBlatz Select Lager Low Profile Cone Top Beer Can W/ CapMeister Brau Pilsener Flat Top Beer CanChampagne Velvet Premium J-spout Cone Top Beer CanSchlitz Vitamin D Sunshine Beer Can Ss 12oz Cone Top Milwaukee Wisconsin WowAntique Blatz Army Cone Top Beer CanKrueger Crowntainer Cone Top Beer Can W/ CapScarce Clyde Lager Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-fall River, Ma.Fox Deluxe Beer~flat Top Beer Ale Can~pristine Condition~peter Fox Brewing Co~Richbrau Crowntainer Beer Can Home Brewing, Richmond, Va Usbc 198-19Nice Red Top Cone Top Beer Can Irtp Red Top Brewing Cincinnati Oh Rare Orig CapSportsman Beer Enamel Gold Flat Top Beer Can Maier Los Angeles, California CalifConnecticut Yankee Lager Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-lowell, Ma.Utica Club Ale Flat Top Beer Can Flat Sheet West End, New York Unrolled Beer CanBen Brew Cone Top Beer Can - B47Blatz 10oz Flat Top Beer Can Extremely Rare!! *** Ten Ounce ***Harvard Ale Flat Top Beer CanOriginal James Bond's 007 Special Blend Pull Tab Beer Can (6 Of 6 In Set.)Harvard Ale Flat Top Beer CanKrueger Cream Ale Pint Cone Top Beer CanVintage Griesedieck Brothers Pilsner Glass Teal Flat Top Beer CanEsslinger's Beer Quart Cone Top Beer CanNice Schlitz "error" All Original Cone Top Beer Can Irtp Milwaukee Wisc Orig CapScarce Prizer Premium Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-reading, Pa.Group Of 20 Rusty Cone Top Beer CansHuber All Grain High Profile Cone Top Beer CanRoyal Cone Top Beer Can......rare!Paul Bunyan 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-waukesha, Wi.Huge 4000-7000 Beer Can Lot All Sizes Shapes And Countries Super CheapSalute Lager Beer Cone Top Beer Can Rainier Brewing Ca Terminal LiquorsDenver Tivoli Beer Can Tivoli Bry. Denver, Colo. T/oYuengling Premium Beer Difficult Cone TopSchmidt Beer Northern Pike Bottom Open Zip Top Beer Can Fly Fishing St Paul MinnBeautiful Peerless Cone Top Beer Can La Crosse Brewing, Wisconsin W/original CapRainier Club Extra Dry Beer 12 Oz. Cone Top Beer CanBlackhawk Premium Beer 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-cleveland, Oh.Glasgo Cone Top Beer Can - B46Vintage Krueger Cream Ale Irtp Quart Cone Top Beer Can New Jersey NewarkOriginal James Bond's 007 Special Blend Pull Tab Beer Can (4 Of 6 In Set.)Grain Belt Premuim High Profile Cone Top Beer Can W/ CapLot Of Vintage Cone Top Beer Cans Gluek's Milwaukee Renner General Pulaski Vintage Old German Lager Quart Cone Top Beer Can Cumberland Md Queen City BrewFalstaff High Profile Cone Top Beer Can W/ CapKrueger Cream Ale Quart Cone Top Beer Can Usbc 213-11Old Export Brand Beer (cumberland Brewing) Cone Top Beer Can - B16Vintage Silver Fox Irtp Quart Cone Top Beer Can Marion IndianaNice Schlitz All Original Cone Top Beer Can Irtp Milwaukee Wisc Original CapVintage Golden Age Select Export Quart Cone Top Beer Can Spokane WashingtonOld Tap Ale Brand Select Stock Cone Top Beer CanBruck's Jubilee Crowntainer Beer Can Bruckmann, Cincinnati, Oh Usbc 192-22Vintage Burgermeister Quart Cone Top Beer Can San Francisco CaliforniaOld Olympia Beer Can Test Zip Top Damaged Rare KeglinedRed Ribbon Old Cone Top Beer CanMilwaukee Club Cone Top Beer CanFountain Brew Cone Top Beer Can1953 Esslinger Parti Quiz 12 Oz. Flat Top Beer Can-philadelphia, Pa.Bismarck Premium Flat Top Beer Can, Chicago, Il Usbc 37-14

Recent News: Beer Cans

Source: Google News

Calling all brewerianists!
www.kingstonregion.com/, July 31st

The word “brewerianist” is defined as “a collector of brewery paraphernalia”- and Al Dodd, president of the Limestone Chapter of the Collectors of Canadian Breweriana Advertising (CCBA), certainly fits this description. His basement contains tens of ...Read more

The Beer Guy: Beer calendar is so busy, his head is getting dizzy
Richmond Times-Dispatch (blog), July 30th

While the expo was in full swing, collectors were gathering from far and wide at the Monticello Extravaganza XXIII Beer Can and Breweriana Show in Zion Crossroads. Brian Coughlin, for example, came from Rochester, NY, where he is president of the 12 ...Read more

Manahawkin's Old Causeway not your typical Jersey Shore eatery
Press of Atlantic City, July 30th

Unique decor details inside include two huge garage doors that open to the porch giving the place an open-air feeling; a collection of antique beer cans along the walls; and an antique dive suit from the Maritime Museum in Beach Haven. Not to mention...Read more

BRIEF: 10th and Final Off-Road Antiques Show
Insurance News Net, July 30th

July 30 -- BONAPARTE -- Bonaparte Main Street Inc. will host its 10th and final Off-Road Antiques Show Sunday, with doors opening at noon at the Whiteley Opera House , 614 First St. in Bonaparte . Show hours are 1 to 4 p.m.. Items can be appraised for ...Read more

Corpus Christi 'Mantique' store equips the man cave
mySanAntonio.com, July 28th

The store has knick-knacks ranging from breweriana, sports memorabilia, action figures and furniture suitable to decorate unique man caves. "Every guy's dream is to build their own little space in their home," Elizondo said. "We cater the guys who are...Read more

15 Awesome Vintage Beer Cans
Paste Magazine, July 22nd

Earlier this month, Narragansett announced it was bringing back its classic 1975 can — the same one famously crushed by Captain Sam Quint — in honor of the 39th anniversary of Jaws. The brewery is only the latest to join a growing trend of beer...Read more

Pittsburgh Hosting BeerFest & Breweriana Conventions This Weekend
CBS Local, July 18th

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Roll out those beer cases and prime the taps! Stage AE on the North Shore is preparing for the second annual Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest. “There will be 8,000 people here over the two nights,” says events director Craig Johnson...Read more

'Breweriana' show displays old beer cans, history (video)
The Plain Dealer, July 13th

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio – The Brewery Collectibles Club of America's Lake Erie chapter held a show and sale to highlight "breweriana" – all things beer-related. Old cans, current bottles, nostalgic trays and historical Cleveland brewery items were all on...Read more