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CROWN CAPS a/k/a Bottle Caps
(i.e. Bottle Caps)

What most people refer to as a bottle cap, is technically a "crown cap," or simply as a "crown" by Breweriana collectors. The crown was developed in 1892 by William Painter, from Baltimore. It was originally called a "crown cork," because it seemed to resemble the British crown and it was lined with cork.  However, up until a few years Prohibition, the lining of cork changed to a layer of composite cork.   After Prohibition beginning in the early 1930s, a thin layer of composite cork was used with a thin layer of fluted metal, resembling metal foil, laid on top in the center.  Beginning around 1960, crown liners began to have plastic surfaces. More recently, crowns are simply lined with a thin and transparent layer. (For examples, please view the bottom of this page.) The crown cap originally had 23 points; most today have 21 points. Relatively recently, some crowns are now being made with 29 points. An alternate terminology or points is flutes or corrugations. Crowns can be made with either metal or aluminum. This can be discerned by using a magnet, which will connect with metal, but not to aluminum.

Prior to the invention of the crown, a beer bottle often had a stopper that was secured by corks and later by a porcelain or hard stopper. These stoppers were secured by a wire bracket, called a Lightning or Swing Top. But even then, this did not always keep the top secure from an explosion from built in carbonation. However, the crown eliminated this problem and was readily adopted. An example of an early Bavarian bottle before the use of crowns with such a bracket, and a wooden case the bottles came in, are shown in Bottles and Cases. It appears Bavarian Brewery used crowns beginning when they opened a Bottling Department in 1892, which was rebuilt in 1908.  


Bavarian Beer c. 1910s. No bottle caps for any beers bottled by Bavarian Brewing Co. have yet been obtained before Prohibition. However, an image of what one likely looked like for Bavarian Beer, simply with a large B in a circle, is shown from a picture on the right, which also depicts a bottle of beer and label. Bavarian  probably used other crowns for other beers, and perhaps even for an Ale and Porter, which was brewed in the late 1800's before approximately 1905.  Please click on any image for a large picture and more information. Please also view Beer Labels


Between the time that Bavarian Brewing Co. was operated from 1938 to 1945, their main beer was known as "Bavarian Master Brand Beer," and simply as "Bavarian."  However, beginning in 1946 the labels and undoubtedly the crowns changed when the name of the beer was modified to "Bavarian's Old Style Beer," or "Bavarian's." The name of the beer was altered again in 1957 to "Bavarian's Select Beer." We have a good collection of Bavarian crowns presented below for these latter periods when the beer was called "Bavarian's," but not when the beer was called "Bavarian." Should anyone have such Bavarian crowns, or those Pre-Prohibition, as well as any others that are not displayed in this section and be willing to donate or share images of them, please contact us.

Bavarian's Beer.

c. Late 1940s. The first image may have been for Ohio. The crown with the two people greeting on the bottom is the state symbol for Kentucky. 


c. Early 1950s. These two Ohio crowns  show tax paid for beer with alcohol less than 7% and less than 3.2%.  The center of each crown depicts the seal of Ohio, and it is more clear on the blue crown. The number of rays from the sun are supposed to reflect the number of original colonies (13). The the cluster of arrows on the left of the seal recognizes Native Americans and that Ohio was the 17th state to enter the Union.  The cluster of wheat on the right symbolizes the state's agriculture and bounty. However, the minimization of the seal makes it difficult for the numbers and images to be recognized.  ​


c. Mid 1950s - until 1957. The first item is an Ohio crown and the second is a Kentucky crown. They were also used with Bavarian Old Style Beer.  The alcohol content for the Kentucky crown was not required.  Of note is that on the Ohio crown, with an alcohol content less than 3.2%, the state shield does not show a cluster of arrows on the left as it does on the other Ohio crowns above and below, Instead, it shows a second bundle of wheat.​


c. Late 1950s.  When Bavarian Brewery changed its brand from Bavarian's Old Style to Bavarian's Select in May of 1957, it needed to change all its merchandising and marketing items, including its crowns. All of the Bavaian's Select Crowns shown were obtained from one of the Director's of Bavarian, Louis L. Schott, along with an accompanying letter that was cc'd to Mr. Schott with these crowns.  There were differences in crown designs based on whether the beer was were sold in Kentucky or Ohio. The colors of the crowns also varied depending on the tax paid by the size of the bottle (12 oz or 32 oz), and in the case of Ohio, the difference in the alcohol content (<3.2 or < 7 pct.) Further, there was also a difference in the size of the "Select" lettering, the reasoning for which is unclear. The crowns for late 1950s are displayed below.

Bavarian's Select Crown Caps for Kentucky. Just as Ohio had their seal required for crowns, Kentucky did as well. The state shield for Kentucky has two people embracing or joining in a hand shake, in reference to the moto for Kentucky, which is: "United we stand. Divided we fall."  The tax paid imprinted on each of the crowns follows: 1/2 cent for the first two, 1.5 cents for the third crown and 4.5 cents for the last crown.