BEER LABELS
LABELOLOGY

The collecting and study of beer labels, has been referred to as labelology, by the late Bob Kay, who published US Beer Labels. Bob grouped labels into the following chronological categories:

 

  • Pre-Prohibition of "Pre-Pro" (Before 1920, but WWI limited Beer to 2.75% two years earlier). 

  • Prohibition (Mostly 1919-1932; Use of h & L permits with limited alcohol (<0.5 to 2%.)

  • U-Permits (Normally 1933 - 1935).

  • IRTP - Internal Revenue Tax Paid (1935 - 1950)

  • No IRTP shown. (March, 1950 - Present).

A Video Of

Part 1: Bavarian Brewing Co. Labels

Except for Prohibition, labels for all the categories mentioned above, most of Bavarian Brewing Co. labels, are displayed below. Bavarian had planned to bottle low alcoholic "near beer" and soft drinks during Prohibition. But it appears this never occurred.   Bob used several thousand labels in his collection for his publications.  Several scans of these, which  were in US Beer Labels Volume 2, were supplied by his family used in this presentation.

THE EARLIEST LABELS -
PRE-PROHIBITION

Because most beer up until the late 1800s was consumed from kegs, and the bottles were embossed with the name of the brewer and location, there wasn't a significant need to have labels.  (See Beer Bottles.) However, beginning in the late 1800's advances were made to make it more practical to bottle and distribute beer. (Also see Crowns.) Along with equipment that could more quickly bottle beer, the equipment also allowed labels to be affixed to bottles. So, beginning around the turn of the 20th Century, beer labels were used until Prohibition, i.e. until around 1919, and are therefore called Pre-Prohibition labels.  Many such labels are scarce and some are exceedingly rare.

 

 

These Pre-Prohibition labels for Bavarian Brewing Co. are from the early 1900s and have been obtained from different sources, as noted below.

 

If you have other Pre-Prohibition Bavarian Brewing Co. labels, please let us know. We believe the brewery also had labels for a Blue Ribbon Beer, a tonic and non-alcoholic beverages during Prohibition.  Should anyone have a copies of these or any other labels that are not displayed herein, we'd be very interested in obtaining copies or acquiring them.  (Please see Donate.)

LABELS AFTER PROHIBITION

1935-1937. The Bavarian Brewery was acquired and opened in mid-1935 after Prohibition by a group headed by Murray Voorhees, the husband of the Rosemary Riedlin, the granddaughter William Riedlin, the brewery's founder.  His ownership group evidently had difficulty securing adequate financing and the brewery apparently became under capitalized. They were unable to make the brewery profitable and it went into receivership in mid 1937. (See the Great Depression & A Reopening.)  For these first two years it appears the brewery may have distributed draft Bavarian entirely in kegs. It is  unclear what labels, if any, may have been used.  However, one of the first labels that may have been used, in 1937 or 1938, was the Riedlin's Select Beer as shown by the label below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

c. 1938 - 1940. After the Schott Brothers acquired the Bavarian Brewing Co. and began to operate it in early 1938, apparently Riedlin's Select Beer was used for a short time, possibly a year or less, and then discontinued. It appears that the Schott Brothers may have tried to have a few different brands of beer in their early years of operations. Another such brand, in recognition of the opening of Cincinnati's Union Terminal in 1933, was Cincinnati's Pride Brand Beer. It may have been a brand first used by the Old Munich Brewery, which operated for only a year around 1936. This brand was then probably acquired by the Schott Brothers. However, within a year or two of operations, it appears the Schott Brothers decided to limit their beer brands to two or three. The name Bavarian Beer was for draft, and Bavarian Master Brand Beer was for pasteurized bottle beer.  In addition, Schott Extra Pale Ale was introduced, probably around 1940 as the other noted beer brands were discontinued.

The  main labels that were used by the Schott Brothers beginning around 1938 were those shown below. 

c. 1940 - 1946 / Early 1950's.  The Bavarian Master Brand Beer label used by the Schott Brothers beginning around 1940 was revised to a "Blue and Orange" angular design, depicted below. In addition, a new brand, Schott Ale, was introduced, and was continued into the early 1950s. The Bavarian Draft Beer label from above, was likely discontinued by 1946, if not somewhat beforehand. 

Beginning at some point before 1945 the color of the Bavarian Master Brand label was changed to "Black on Blue" as shown on the right. Bavarian Bock Beer, introduced seasonally in March, was distributed beginning in around 1940.  Sometime around 1942 it is believed Covington Ale was produced for the Allied troops during WWII abroad; not for consumption in the U.S.

1946 - 1950. After WWII, Bavarian Brewing Co. decided to modify its flagship brand name. Bavarian Master Brand Beer was renamed Bavarian's Old Style Beer and a new label was created,  as shown below and in the far right.

The labels above indicate a U Permit, even though they were apparently issued in the late 1940's and were not required.  Instead of having a draft brew named Bavarian Beer, it also became Bavarian's Old Style, as shown by the label below. For Bavarian's Bock Bock Beer,  the label was slightly modified as shown.

1950 - 1956. In March of 1950 the Internal Revenue Tax Paid (IRTP) was omitted, as it was no longer required, as shown by the label on the right. Therefore, when this notice is omitted from a label, as shown on the far right, it helps identify a label from 1950 or after.   

1957 - 1959.  Bavarian revamped their label along with a change to their name in 1957. The new name was Bavarian's Select Beer, basically replacing Old Style with Select, as shown on the right. The new label was on a foil backing and used bright colors and three flags to indicate Time / Tradition / Skill. There was also a new reference to their brand as Bavarian/s, which referenced Select as well as the 's. A great deal of analysis, effort and cost went into this new design. (See History: Schott Family Years). For Bavarian/s Bock Beer, a red neck label was used. 

ASSISTANCE REQUEST:

Should anyone have specific knowledge of the labels used during the Voorhees years, please let us know. (See contacts.)

U Permits: After Prohibition each brewer was assigned a U-Permit number. For Bavarian that number was U-700, as shown on the Riedlin's Select label to the left. Normally U-Permits were only shown on labels in before around 1935. However, some brewers continued to use them for some time afterwards. 

The Main Labels of 

Bavarian Brewing Co.,

in Covington, KY

After Prohibition 

c. 1938 - 1939

1938 - 1940

1943 - 1946

c. 1940 - Early 1950's

1946 - 1950

1950- 1956

1957 - 1959

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c. 1961 - 1966. A couple years or so after Bavarian Brewing was sold, IBI began brewing and bottling other brands in the Bavarian Brewery located in Covington, KY. The labels for most of these brands are below. Please note that Iroquois Beer and Ale was only bottled in Buffalo, NY; not in Covington or any of the other IBI plants. Some of the brands and accompanying labels that were not obtained, but were probably produced at Bavarian Brewery, were r Bar beer, possibly some ales and bock beers. Therefore, besides Bavarian's Select Beer, there least about 10 additional brands that were bottled and brewed by IBI in Covington during first half of the 1960s.

c. 1959 - 1966. The label was modified by IBI by eliminating the foil backing to reduce costs. However, in doing so, the yellow lettering was too light to be easily read.  Therefore, the lettering was changed to red, as illustrated by the label in the middle.  IBI also introduced a rectangular shaped label as shown below, normally used with No Return / No Deposit bottles.  Such bottles were actually less expensive than aluminum cans, and is why IBI's emphasized bottles instead of can in their advertising during the early 1960s.

IBI LABELS AT THE BAVARIAN BREWERY PLANT

In mid 1959 International Breweries Inc. (IBI) purchased Bavarian Brewing Co. They acquired the brewery from the Schott family, which included the daughter of William Riedlin and her husband, their two sons, and the son-in-law's brother. IBI continued to operate what was called the Bavarian Brewery, or the Covington (KY) plant, for several years thereafter. IBI brewed and bottled several their brands at the brewery; not just Bavarian's Select Beer, Please see the video on the right and the images below. 

Part II: IBI Labels at Bavarian Brewery

c. 1961 - 1966. Bavarian's Select Beer (Bavarian/s) was also made at other IBI plants, including: Old Dutch in Findlay, OH, Phoenix in Buffalo, NY and Silver Bar in Tampa, FL. Only the labels used at the Bavarian Brewery are shown in this presentation. However, the Bavarian/s labels made at these other plants are available in above video, Part II.

After 1966. After IBI discontinued its brewery operations and reorganized under a different name into another company in 1966, Bavarian/s continued to be made by other brewers. Initially it was bottled and brewed under a licensing agreement with Associated Breweries, Inc. primarily at the former Sterling Brewery in Evansville, IN, but also in Detroit, MI and possibly in South Bend, IN into the 1970s. However, each of the aforementioned plants made Bavarian/s in the early 1970s, but under a different name; Bavarian's' Brewing Co. Afterwards, possibly into the early 1980's, Bavarian/s was produced by Iroquois Brewing in Columbus, OH and Dunkirk, NY.  Most of the labels for Bavarian's Select Beer that were used in other locations by other brewers outside of Covington, KY, along with some information of these former brewers, can be viewed in aforesaid video. This video also has a number of different variations of labels that are not shown above.

 

Acknowledgements. Scans of the three Pre-Pro labels, and a few of the labels shortly after Prohibition, were obtained from the collections of Bob Kay's family, Carl Groh and the Schott Family Collection in the Behringer Crawford Museum (bcmuseum.org).  

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