More U.S. Beer Cans

This page will cover some of the more interesting and unusual American beer cans that have been distributed in more recent years.

Breweries have long targeted the sports fan.

A number of beer cans have had ties with sports teams. The Iron City brewery of Pittsburgh has issued literally dozens of cans commemorating that cities successful sports franschises. The Steelers started the craze with beer cans commemorating their Super Bowl win in 1975. Since then there have been cans celebrating the three other Steeler Super Bowl victories as well as dozens of cans dedicated to individual Steeler players. Both the Pirates and Penguins have had their share of commemorative cans as well. The A-1 brewery of Phoenix issued several cans containing the schedules of both the Suns basketball team and the Phoenix RoadRunners hockey team of the long defunct World Hockey League.

Caseys beer issued by Carling features drawings of Major League Baseball stars. The four can set salutes Duke Snider, Richie Ashburn, Monte Irvin, and Whitey Ford. You would think that the Fighting Irish can issued by Royal of New Orleans celebrates Notre Dame sports. That would be wrong. The very small print an inch below the word beer issues a disclaimer that this beer can is in no way affiliated the University of Notre Dame.

There are also beer Boiler Maker, Hawkeye, Cylone, and Fighting Wildcat beer cans that are equally not associated with Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, and Kentucky Universities. Royal brewing issued no less that four different Mizzou Brew beer cans not affiliated with the U. of Missouri.
Some breweries thought that label design and a nifty name helped make Budweiser a big seller.

A number of breweries have sought to capitalize on a successful name or package. The F & L beer can looks a great deal like a more famous beer. While Budweiser proclaims itself to be the King of Beers, F & L calls itself the Beer of Beers. The Weideman beer out of Newport, Kentucky bears more than a passing resemblance to the Bud can. Ironically, Anheuser-Busch licences the Budweiser name from the Budweiser brewery in the Czech Republic. The DuBois brewery of DuBois had brewed their own version of Budweiser beer since the 1900's. Anheuser-Busch started brewing their Budweiser brand in 1876. At the time the names were adopted, they reflected the style of beer from the Budvar region of what is now the Czech Republic. As Anhuser-Busch turned into a national brewery it was not surprising that they wanted exclusive rights to their flagship brand. Since both breweries had used the brand so long, there could be no clear holder of the brand name. Shortly after Dubois sold out to Pittsburgh brewing in the late 1960's, Anheuser-Busch was able to buy the exclusive rights to the Budweiser name. As it turned out, it was the dominance of the big national breweries driving out the weaker regional breweries that finally made this possible.

Some breweries tried to cash in on famous trademarks.
The Playmate Premium Beer can was issued by Sunshine of Reading, PA in about 1970 along with a matching malt liquor can. The failed to realize that the Playmate term had been trademarked by the Playboy magazine and were forced to withdrawal the can from the market. A similar story can be told for the James Bond 007 cans issued by National of Phoenix Arizona. This was a set of, what else, seven beer cans featuring the sort of women with whom James would likely get entangled. Because of their limited time on the market, both the 007 and Playmate cans are somewhat scarce.

These cans are strictly for export out of the U.S.
The Penthouse can is an example of more recent phenomenon of U.S. breweries creating special cans just for the Export market. The Penthouse can was shipped to Japan and features a Japanese woman in a swimsuit and spiked heels. The Malibu Brew is another can for export that evokes the typical American lifestyle as seen on Baywatch. These export beers actually offer variety in cans seldom seen in todays grocery stores. Ironically, they are shipped off to far off places including several Far East countries and South America. The export market has been an opportunity for struggling regional breweries to stay afloat in these highly competitive times.

The Olde Frothingslosh cans were a spoof on the Miss Rheingold promotion. Miss Frothingslosh proved more popular-as a can anyway.
The Rheingold brewery of New York City had sponsered a beauty contest to determine Miss Rheingold. In 1957, they pictured the six contestents on beer cans. Margie McNally was the eventual winner. Not to be outdone, the Pittsburgh Brewing company came out with a series of beer cans featuring Miss Frothingslosh. The first Olde Frothingslosh beer had its origins with phony commercials at a radio station in Pittsburgh in 1954. They advertised Olde Frothingslosh Pale Stale Ale - the beer with the foam on the bottom. The local brewery, Pittsburgh Brewing, filled several hundred cases of bottles and later came out with an 8 ounce beer can called Sir Lady Frothingslosh. The brewery continued to produce bottles of Olde Frothingslosh at holiday time, and finally issued a can in 1968. Later in 1973 they issued eight cans in different colors. The white can with the blue lettering is one of the eight. A second series appeared a few years later featuring Miss Frothingslosh, a.k.a. Fatima Yechburgh in a variety of poses.

Several breweries issued cans to celebrate the bicentennial. Both Lucky and Falstaff started to issue a series of cans to commemorate the presidents but stopped after George Washington and John Adams.
Many cans were issued for America's bicentennial in 1976

These look-alike labels reflect the new common owner of these old time breweries.
The trio cans pictured to the right appear to bear more than a slight resemblance to one another. Each of these old-time regional breweries issued an Ice beer can with the same design. Rainier from Seattle, Lone Star from San Antonio, and Old Style from LaCrosse, Wisconson all happened to be owned by the same conglomerate. The Ice beer fad hit around 1995 with the result being that almost every big brewery came out with their own version of ice beer.

Bock beer cans have been around almost since the time that first beer cans were issued. The long time tradition has been to associate a goat with bock beer. This is true not only for cans but for Bock beer in general. Traditionally, bock beer is a heavy beer that is only distributed in the late winter and early spring.