From the Fall 2002 Breweriana Collector - By Bob Kay.
I have chosen two Illinois sudsworks, Peoria Brewing Co. (1934-40) and the Springfield Brewing Co. (1933-48) to illustrate some interesting label variations. When reviewing close variations, it's fun to let the labels suggest the reasons for the changes. I call this "Label Talk" - in other words the labels told me so! Now lets see what these labels have to say!
Three brands (Dorf, Horst, and Utica Bohemian), can be found with both brewery names. It looks like they formed some sort or joint ownership or marketing arrangement somewhere along the line. In addition to the name differences the Peoria Dorf labels can be found with two wording variations - Saazer Hops or Saazer Type Hops. This change may have resulted from a change in suppliers or truth in labeling pressure from the label examiner.
The Springfield Brewery issued a brand called Lucky Lager which featured a horseshoe and a four leaf clover. Suddenly the label was reworded to Good Luck Lager. Label Talk says they received pressure from another well known brand of the same name and had to change. Of course the change was so subtle it was hoped no one would notice.
The Peoria brand with a U-Permit number (circa 1933-36) is one of the first 12 ounce labels from Peoria Brewing. Variations are known with two different sub-headings - Special and Special Brew. The labels weren't able to tell me why this change was made. Possibly the wording, Special Brew Beer, was deemed redundant? Either label makes a choice addition to any collection.
Apparently Springfield could only handle 12 ounce bottles. cooperation is apparent in that Springfield appears to have contracted for all of their quart and half gallon bottles from Peoria. Stadt (pronounced state) and Schor Brands can be found in both quart and half-gallon sizes while a 32 ounce version of Good Luck is known. Close examination of the fine print, or Label Talk, shows these were brewed in Peoria for Springfield.
The war with Germany caused a great deal of change in beer labels as the brewers, many of German heritage, scurried to look more American. The Chief Brand from Peoria offers a small but very collectible example. Notice how the Indian headband was redesigned? The labels whisper it was because the first one had a close resemblance to the German Swastika.
The Black & Gold Brand is also found with an interesting wording change. One version says Private Stock while another says Select Stock. Even the labels don't understand this change. Could it be the brewery or the label examiner objected to one of these wordings?? It beats me why? Whatever the reason these are very collectible variations!
Springfield's Royal Lager Brand originally said "Dietically Not Fattening" but was changed to "Rich Old Country Flavor". Obviously the label examiner wouldn't buy the initial wording.
One intent of this treatment is to help the label collector/historian sharpen their skills in the art or reading and understanding the many variations in labels. Hopefully this will help.