Where Was It Brewed?

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Where Was It Brewed?

#1

Post by MI-Cans » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:36 am

With the current thread, “Olympia and Pabst Brewing” viewtopic.php?p=403739#p403739
It just makes me realize that when it comes to knowing where a beer was actually brewed and canned, I’m dumber than a box of rocks!

If there’s only one city listed, that’s a safe assumption and I can nail that one!

When multiple cities are listed, wasn’t there some kind of mandate at one time that the actual city doing the brewing had to be listed first?

And then there’s the dot over the city doing the actual brewing. That one’s also piece of cake, for me at least.

What do you do when there’s anywhere up to eleven cities listed for a can on the west coast and a collector on the east coast has the same can but there’s no telltale indication where it was brewed and canned and the brewer has multiple facilities across the continent?

Then there’s that “secret” code as described by Jinsequa in the above mentioned post.
jinsequa
November 2nd, 2019, 6:08 pm
The Pabst code is the key for where it was brewed when it list multiple cities.
A1= Milwaukee (1935-1996)
B2= Peoria Heights (1934-1983)
C3= Newark (1946-1985)
D4= Tumwater (1983-1999)
E5= Pabst, GA & later called Perry, GA (1971-1983)
F6= Initially used for Portland, OR (1978-1993) ( bought twice by Pabst)
F6= then used by Tampa after closure of Portland ( 1983-sold twice by strohs to Pabst from what I can tell over this period-closed 1999)
G7= St. Paul (1983) By far the hardest Pabst code to find since Pabst only owned it for a couple of months after purchasing Olympia’s assets.
? = Los Angeles (1947-1979)

These dates are hard to pin down due to all the sales and resale’s of Pabst breweries in the 1980-90’s. The dates are the best I can pin down without more research. Not sure if LA had a code....need to research that more.
You can also tell the difference between the St. Paul and Tumwater brewed Olympia cans by the National can code. If it has only a 22 under the National can symbol if it was brewed in Tumwater. Most of St. Paul cans were 78 and 84. The other cities I listed were all contract brews at various cities and they have no brewery code.

Eric Palmer
I know that variation collectors have to be able to figure something like this out. Is there any reliable documentation to substantiate any of these assumptions? Is there something that can be assembled as a reference of sorts for this topic?

Also just noted that in the USBC,
"The city listed under a can picture is the city where the can was filled. If there's a note saying "X Cities," it means other cities are listed on the can."

Does that mean that the can could be from one of the other cities?

Or is it just enough for dummies like me to just say, “I’ve got that can – it has four cities” and leave it at that?

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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#2

Post by jinsequa » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:56 am

Funny you would mention this about can codes...I just started compiling a list the last month of various can codes because I have been going through the online supplement to see what I have that should be pictured ((over700 unlisted PAcNW can variations already and under halfway through my cans) and realized that I had a lot more knowledge about can code origins for a can than the supplement is demonstrating. In going through the supplement and comparing the description to the cans actual code I noticed many cans in the supplement were clearly misidentified as to city of origin based on their can coding.
So far by using various can codes:
1. I can place all Pabst cans to the city of origin
2. I can place most AB cans to city of origin.
3. I can place most National Can Company cans to their city of origin
4. I can place most Continental Can Company cans to their place of origin
5. I am starting to think I can place most G. heileman cans to their place of origin.( I know I saw a breakdown of how to read their codes on the bottom of the Can somewhere and I can place most cans to place of origin based on their 2 letter,3 number code)
6. I can place all Schlitz products to their place of origin. (Based on the dot)
7. I can place most Reynolds aluminum cans to place of origin.
8. I can place Coors cans to the city of origin and think the current Pabst cans mirror their codes.
9. I can place all General Brewing cans to their city of origin.
10. I can place and date American Can Company cans. (See Lilek for a good graphic)
9. I am working and researching on Crown and Ball can codes now.

Some to tackle:
1. Ballantine has a code system
2. National / Carling-National Brewing has a code system.

Can anyone think of others who have coded their cans?
Does anyone have references or links that would be informative?
Seems like it would be a good permanent thread or composite list?

Eric Palmer
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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#3

Post by MI-Cans » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:24 am

@JKW
jinsequa
November 3rd, 2019, 10:56 am
Funny you would mention this about can codes...I just started compiling a list the last month of various can codes because I have been going through the online supplement to see what I have that should be pictured ((over700 unlisted PAcNW can variations already and under halfway through my cans) and realized that I had a lot more knowledge about can code origins for a can than the supplement is demonstrating. In going through the supplement and comparing the description to the cans actual code I noticed many cans in the supplement were clearly misidentified as to city of origin based on their can coding.
@jinsequa
Eric,
You obviously have an abundance of either knowledge or documentation relative to this topic. If documented, would you mind sharing it with us? If just knowledge, are you in a position to document it and then share it with us? This could be a monster of a reference database. I'd be willing to help...not sure how...but willing.

Hopefully others may chime in with any info they have.

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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#4

Post by Longhorn Mike » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:30 pm

I have commented on this subject many times before.

Pabst - currently discussed on the other thread.

70's Schlitz Used the dot system, but not always. Schlitz has used many head scratching systems on their cans. The cities on Schlitz Beer and Malt Liquor are listed in a different order than on Old Milwaukee. For whatever reason, Old Milwaukee always list Longview first, causing many people to mistake that the can was brewed in Texas, when that usually was not the case. Some cans like Malt Liquor and Encore had abbreviated lists of 4 or 5 cities instead of the whole list. Hawaiian cans only listed Honolulu, while other cans listed Honolulu only for a few short years, even though Schlitz had a brewery there for at least 15 years.

70's - early 80's General Brewing used engraved codes on the can lid:

LA = Los Angeles
SF = San Francisco
VW = Vancouver

The VW code was used as late as when General only had one brewery in Vancouver.

60's - early 80's Falstaff Brewing Corp used an engraved number code on the lid, but it's use was sporadic early on, and St. Louis cans rarely were stamped at all while New Orleans was stamped about half the time.

1 = St. Louis
2 = Cranston
3 = Omaha
4 = New Orleans
7 = Fort Wayne
8 = Galveston
9 = El Paso

I am not sure what number was assigned to San Jose or San Francisco. Also, Falstaff had multiple different plants operating in St. Louis for a while. I'm not sure if they were given numbers other than 1.

Pearl Brewing Company, 70's - early 80's. Pearl's St Joseph, Mo brewery was usually listed first if it was the brew city, but in the 70's they changed it to always list San Antonio first. Some Pearl cans from St Joe are easy to spot while others you cannot tell. The gold Pearl can is one you can't tell. But when Pearl started to produce the yellow waterfall can, you could tell by the slogan around the logo. "Brewed with..." is from San Antonio, "Brewed to..." is from St. Joe.

In the mid 70's Pearl in San Antonio was a aluminum can pioneer with an on-site can plant and huge recycling center, but in St. Joe not so much. Most, if not all of the cans produced in St. Joe during this period were crimp steel.

In the early 80's, the ownership of Falstaff, General and Pearl pulled some tax manuever, transferring the Falstaff Galveston plant to Pearl. There are a few Pearl brands that list both cities, but the cans filled in Galveston will have the familiar Falstaff number 8 engraved on the lid.

Late 60's - early 70's C. Schmidt and Sons. After the Norristown plant was closed, Schmidt's didn't tell you what city the beer was brewed in anymore, simply listing both Philadelphia and Cleveland. However, if you look at the letter "i" in the "of Philadelphia" on the face of the cans, if the "i's" are dotted with a star, the can is from Philadephia. If the "i's" just have plain dots, the can is from Cleveland.

80's - early 90's Heileman cans. There is a printed code on the bottom of the can. The last digit of the code was a capital letter. That letter corresponded to the brewing city. I know that A was Lacrosse and B was Belleville and M was San Antonio. I can't remember the other cities, but there was an article in the BCCA magazine about it many years ago. I also remember that, like Pabst, when Heileman started to shuffle their breweries around, the codes started to get reused and harder to follow.

70's T Hamm Company, similar to General, used embossed letters on the lid. This system was ended with the purchase by Olympia.

LA = Los Angeles
SF = San Francisco
SP = St. Paul

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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#5

Post by Rand » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:24 pm

There were some posts in the Reference section batting some of this information around.....do these help?

http://www.mbcinfo.com/KarasekHome/CanCodes/index.html
http://www.therustybunch.com/phpBB3/vie ... 96&t=17844

If a final authoritative list is settled on, we should archive it in the reference section
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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#6

Post by Uncle Jackson » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:04 am

As we work on the Supplement, we are taking some of this into consideration. The problem is that we cannot always classify the cans. For instance, not all Schlitz cans have a dot over a city or General/Hamm’s cans have a 2 digit code on the lids. As cans can be relidded, that is also presenting problems. Additionally, some of the cans in the book are listed from a city that may not be correct.

We are doing our best, but it is a daunting test. I have even tasked with standardizing and correcting the captions and comments. In general, if it is not obvious (AB), I will be putting a comment in the comments. This is a huge undertaking, so don’t expect this to be mostly done quickly nor ever completely finished.

As always, any thoughts you have on this would be appreciated.
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Re: Where Was It Brewed?

#7

Post by MI-Cans » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:13 am

@Uncle Jackson
Thanks for your input and it's encouraging that the Supplement team is aware and doing their best to address issues like this. There will never be a finite and definitive canning code reference because of what you mentioned...re-lidding. The only true reference that should be reliable is what's printed on the can itself, not just the lids.

Maybe something can be put together as a generic reference with known details and substantiated information.

@Rand
Thanks for the links. I was aware of the American reference and it's a good start with the list of the locations and their reference ID numbers. I'm having issues with the BMV program and the latest version of Windows 10 (1903). Took a while to install everything on wife's laptop but I was able to get the pages you mentioned and post them here.

@Longhorn Mike
Thanks for your post. Lots of good detail there. I wouldn't know where or how to begin to assemble yours and Eric's info. I think it would start with the canning companies at first and then adding the brewers that were doing their own canning. I think that because Eric possibly has every can ever produced in the Northwest, he could substantiate a lot of the data he's got. I will start a search of older posts to possibly gather more data if it can be found.

Thanks to all.

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