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  • 20 Nov 2019 4:43 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    NABA is very happy to announce that Penn Brewery has come on board as a co-sponsor of our Convention this summer in Pittsburgh from July 29-Aug 1, 2020. Penn joins our lead sponsor, Pittsburgh Brewing / Iron City and will be not only a beer provider, but also a part of our Wednesday Bus Tour of historic and current Pittsburgh breweries.

  • 16 Nov 2019 7:24 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    From the Spring 2013 Breweriana Collector - By James L.  Kaiser

    The Libbey Edge, or “Safedge” as it was called by Libbey Glass when they introduced their patent in 1924, reduced the risk of rim chips and gave us “a line in the sand” between Pre- and Post-Prohibition glasses. A “Safedge” glass resulted from burning-off the moil or brunt edge of a blown glass via an automatic process that made a heat-strengthened rim guaranteed against chipping.

    It is unclear, however, whether etched glasses were produced the “old fashioned way” after Prohibition. The fortunate timing of Libbey’s patent (dated 1924, smack in the middle of Prohibition) allows us to readily identify the glass shown with the “Safedge” in this article as post-Prohibition.

    Figure 1Figure 2Now, let’s talk about these specific glasses. Christian Kern first operated a brewery in Port Huron Michigan in 1875 and the brewery continued under the C Kern Brewing Co. style until the Koerber Family moved in with Friar’s Ale in 1944.

    The etched glass in Figure 1 has the smooth, sharp edge we usually identify with etched glasses from the Pre-Prohibition period (for detail, see Figure 2).

    Figure 3Figure 4The etched glass in Figure 3 is in the same general style as the one shown in Figure 1, except the glass is from what is believed to be a branch in Detroit, MI. This glass also has the sharp rim edge generally identified with Pre-Pro etched glasses (in Figure 4, note the rim chip).

    Figure 5The glass in Figure 5, however, while much the same as that in Figure 3, has a Libbey “Safedge” (Figure 6), indicating production after 1924. What’s more, the glass is painted, not etched. This article does not address the question whether this glass was distributed by the brewery—although it may have been, because the brewery was in business after Prohibition until 1944. It does, however, point out that there is an easily-identified difference between Pre-Pro etched glasses and post-Pro, Libbey “Safedge” glasses.

    As an aside, note that the letter preceding Kern on each glass looks more like a capital E than a capital C. Is it a stylized C or is it an E, possibly for the brother, Ernst F. Kern who was the President of the brewery and founder of Kern’s Department Store in Downtown Detroit? Sorry, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  • 09 Nov 2019 7:30 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    From the Summer 2016 Breweriana Collector - By Ron Small

    Wee WillySometimes it’s interesting to find a niche in the breweriana hobby that nobody else has discovered or talks about much. But with so many collectors pursuing so many different specialties & sub-specialties, this can be difficult.

    One such under-the-radar maker of old beer signs is Milprint, Inc. Milprint, a combination of the words “Milwaukee” and “printing,” was a printer and sign maker that specialized in different types of printable plastics and plastic overlays. Founded in 1899 by brothers Max and William Heller, the company, early in its history, created innovations in commercial packaging—notably substances such as glassine paper, cellophane, foil, and celluloid.

    Old DerbyAnd they also developed methods of printing on these surfaces. Their new materials and printing technologies were well timed, since the early 1900's marked the beginning of our culture’s access to individually wrapped, mass-produced consumer goods.

    In particular, sales of individual candy bars were a big hit and were, in large part, made possible by Milprint’s technological advances.

    Later the company also developed “Trans-vision,” which allowed for multiple layers of transparencies to be superimposed upon each other, breaking down complex diagrams and pictures into simpler components. Transvision was used extensively in medical and other textbooks as a means of illustrating complex anatomical systems, among other things.

    MilprintWilliam Heller sold Milprint to Phillip Morris in 1957, and the company was later sold to the Bemis Company, Inc. Today it is still an operating division of Bemis and is still a major printed packaging producer.

    At some point in its history (probably in the post-War 1940's) Milprint added signage to their packaging lines. The signs were small, not flashy, and probably low budget. They were “Self-Stik” signs with two adhesive strips to affix the sign to the wall (see next page). I have only seen two with string hangers.

    North StarThe signs almost all consist of a 6.5 inch x 10 inch foil-oncardboard background, overlaid with a flat piece of celluloid on which is printed the foreground design elements, and held together by a thin colored strip of celluloid, glued into place. A simple three piece construction, but as can be seen in the pictures, the signs were often very striking in appearance.

    The most common of the Milprint beer signs is for Wee Willy Quality Beer from the Marathon City Brewing Co. of Marathon, Wisconsin. For many years, this was the only Milprint sign I had seen. One day however, I was perusing eBay and I came across a number of different Buy-It-Now listings for various beer, dairy, and other signs. Somehow it registered that these were exactly like the Wee Willy sign I already knew about.

    Quickly, I purchased all of the beer signs the seller had listed. I thought for a few minutes and then bought all the rest, too. Later I exchanged emails with the seller and discovered that he was helping an elderly friend clean out his basement. His friend had been a longtime employee of Milprint.

    In the following weeks he emailed me a few more times as he uncovered more Milprint items in his friend’s basement. These included 4 different flat Plexiglas signs that I hadn’t realized Milprint had ever produced. Without frames or any other functional pieces attached, I am left to wonder as to their intended use. There was also a partial Milprint sign for Kingsbury Pale—only the front celluloid panel. I have never seen a complete one of these, so I do not know if it was ever actually produced.

    Miller High LifeBut the most interesting thing my correspondent found was a Miller High Life sign, still in the mock up stages—mostly complete, but with pieces just glued into place. Since Miller was such a large brewery, this complex mock up is a step up from most of their more graphically simple signage. It would be interesting to see if this ever made it past the design stage. Since Milprint was based in Milwaukee, it is not surprising that most of the beer signs they made were for Wisconsin brewers. The Alpen Brau shown (right) is from Missouri, not too far away. But I was surprised when I found Milprint signs from Nevada and Washington State.

    From what I have been able to discover about the non-beer signs, they seem to be for companies from a more diverse geographical area, without a noticeable concentration in Wisconsin.

    Since Milprint is not too well known among breweriana collectors, if you have any Milprint signs in your collection, you might not have even been aware of it. I would like to compile a composite listing of all known Milprint signs— beer and non-beer— so if you have any, please drop me a line (see right for contact info) so I can add them.

    Many thanks and happy collecting!



    All of the signs pictured in this article are from the collection of the author, who can be reached at, or 860-896-4700.

    Author’s Note: The following website was used extensively in the writing of this article:

    “Hagley Museum and Library: Leonard W. Walton Collection of Milprint, Inc. Photographs (2008.219) –

    Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department.” Hagley Museum and Library: Leonard W.

    Walton Collection of Milprint, Inc. Photographs (2008.219) – Audiovisual Collections and Digital

    Initiatives Department. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2016.

  • 09 Nov 2019 7:55 AM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    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!

    Saazer Hops

    Saazer Type Hops 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.

    LuckyGood Luck

    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.

    SpecialSpecial BrewThe 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.

    Schor'sGood LuckApparently 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.

    Chief GermanChief AmericanThe 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.

    Private StockSelect StockThe 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!

    Rich Old Country Flavor

    Dietically Not Fattening 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.


    Bob Kay

  • 08 Nov 2019 9:17 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    You can book your rooms now for our 2020 Convention in Pittsburgh. $100 per night, includes Breakfast Buffet for 2! Plan on staying through Saturday and attending the Pirates/Cardinals game at PNC Park.

    Click Here For Double Tree Reservations

  • 23 Oct 2019 10:10 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    George Baley is still seeking ball knobs and help with pricing ball knobs for his latest, updated book on that topic. If you can help, we all would appreciate it, as this book will be a boon to the hobby. Just today he received a number of new submissions not seen in the previous edition. His deadline is Nov 3, so please reach out to him at:

  • 05 Oct 2019 1:38 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    Greetings once again from Indianapolis! If summer brings breweriana conventions, then with fall arrives a host of great shows. Along with attending our annual Convention in Cincinnati, I made a pilgrimage to Albuquerque for the BCCA CANvention. Congratulations to Paula Fatura, the new BCCA president. I am now looking forward to some of the Midwest chapter shows to take in the fall foliage and raise a glass with many of my fellow NABA members.

    Regarding our own Convention…it was truly one for the ages in one of the most classic American beer towns, Cincinnati. We surpassed our record attendance in Madison last year and there were so many highlights – just read Tim Holian’s fine recap of the event in this issue.

    NABA Notes: • The Convention’s annual Friday night banquet was packed with great announcements, including records set by NABA. Through much personal effort and donated time, the board and membership committee volunteers have grown our club by an amazing +225 members in just two years – that’s more than 33%. Our count is 900+ members with a goal of 1000 by year-end 2020. We have also added 8 chapters nationwide over the past year, and want to welcome 3 additional chapters since my last letter: Simon Pure and 12 Horse chapters from western NY; and the Cornhuskers of NE. NABA recognizes that the local chapters are the lifeblood of our hobby and we are happy to support them in any way: We warmly welcome you all to the NABA fold.

    • Banquet guests heard of the official renaming of our coveted Founder’s Award after Herb Haydock and it was awarded to the very deserving John Stanley, our irreplaceable executive secretary. And our number two recipient of the Bob Kay Writer’s Award was, very appropriately, Larry Moter, who has authored two fine contributions to this issue.
    • At the Convention, new Board member Joe Gula from Indianapolis was formally elected to fill outgoing Board member Kent Newton’s seat.

    Kent, who was a longtime Board member and past vice-president, is a NABA treasure and will continue to chair the auction committee. Meanwhile, Don Roussin (MO), Barry Travis (MN), and Chris Watt (PA) were re-elected to two-year terms.
    • Our magazine’s quality speaks for itself and we are very thankful for the efforts of Lee Chichester, Ken Quaas, and all the volunteer member writers who bring this outstanding publication to you. A hearty welcome to first-time writer Greg Theberge, who shares his truly amazing collection of Narragansett breweriana in this issue.
    • Finally, our Convention T-shirts were a huge hit and sold out. Designed by Barry Travis and Beer Dave, we are producing a second batch by popular demand. Please email me at Fergkate@ or order online at soon as possible if you’d like to order one.

    A Debt of Gratitude: I want to sincerely thank Beer Dave Gausepohl for a spectacular job as Convention chair, and the team of Scott Bristol, Dave Reed, Tom Waller, and Carey Williams, who helped pull everything at the 2019 Cincy Convention together.

    2020: Pittsburgh is where NABA heads next for our annual gathering. Mike Michalik and Chris Watt have already done an amazing job putting together some very special activities for this event—you’ll be hearing much more as the year unfolds. Many thanks to Iron City and the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. for signing on as our official beer sponsor. Please make your reservations early—this one will be another record-breaker as our East Coast membership has soared!

    2021 is a special year for NABA, as it will be our 50th Anniversary. We are now forming an Anniversary Committee to help plan and organize this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and we are exploring the Milwaukee area for the gathering. Please let me know if you are interested in helping— we’d love to have you. It is an exciting time to be a NABA member! Happy collecting,

    John Ferguson, President

  • 20 Aug 2019 6:22 PM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    From Ken Quass

    NABA is proud to announce its partnership with Pittsburgh Brewing Co and its iconic flagship, Iron City Beer. PBC will be the official beer sponsor of NABA's 2020 Convention in Pittsburgh. Here is the ad they created to announce this great news. Congratulations to convention chair Michael Michalik and co-chair CM Watt for helping to orchestrate this terrific alliance.

  • 04 Jul 2019 11:02 AM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    Recently transferred film of the most modern brewery in the world (1956). Learn in detail how beer and ale are made at the Carling Plant in Natick, Massachusetts

  • 22 Jun 2019 8:40 AM | Daniel Bora (Administrator)

    It’s summer and that means Convention time! And for NABA, it’s membership growth time.

    I couldn’t be happier to report that NABA continues to grow our membership, and rapidly. I’d like to extend a special welcome to more than 30 new members in this quarter alone!

    Some of the most significant growth has happened through the addition of 7 new chapters over the past 6 months. In this quarter we are proud to announce our new, official association with The Rusty Bunch, 49er, and Jersey Shore chapters. It is for the good of the hobby that NABA works to strengthen and affiliate the local chapters. That is where much of what’s special in this hobby gets started and we pledge to promote all of our chapters in this magazine, on our popular Facebook page, and on our newly revamped website:

    The Rusty Bunch have always been one of the leading organizations in our hobby in promoting knowledge, camaraderie, and of course, the thrill of the find. As they say on their Facebook page, they pursue “Old cans, trays, signs, neons, labels, bottles, foam scrapers, brewery history, dump digging...peeking into the cellars and attics of abandoned structures to reveal the treasures left behind...if you can dream it, we’ve seen it.”

    The Northern California based 49er Chapter has also joined our ranks. Established in 1974, their membership extends throughout CA and NV. This group has had some famed collectors among its membership, and today boasts many of our hobby’s West Coast leaders.

    Last but not least, we are honored to have the Jersey Shore chapter join NABA as our 31st chapter. If you’ve ever been to one of their annual costumed theme parties at a BCCA Canvention, then you know these folks know how to have a great time. They also know breweriana and are serious, dedicated, and educated collectors of artifacts created by the legendary New Jersey breweries (Ballantine, Krueger, Feigenspan, Hensler, Breidt, etc.).

    New Membership Committee

    Under NABA Board Member Mike Michalik’s leadership, we have assembled a Membership Committee of six geographically-dispersed breweriana collectors who are experienced and active in the hobby—perfect ambassadors for NABA. They are:

    • Dave Doxie – Central PA
    • Clayton Emery – Michigan
    • John Huff – Ohio
    • Robert Keasey – South Carolina
    • Stevan Miner – Minnesota
    • Matthew Olszewski – Upstate NY

    See you in Cincinnati!

    I hope by now you’ve made your reservations for our annual Convention in Cincinnati. This is going to be a blockbuster and reservations are way ahead of even last year’s record-setting pace. In fact, we had so much interest in the Bus Tour we had to add a second 55-person coach. As of this writing (mid-May) there are only 25 spaces left on the second bus. The tour includes lunch, libations, and one of the most fascinating tours of old breweries and long-forgotten lagering caves that you will ever experience. The Cincinnati Convention team, led by Beer Dave Gausepohl, has really outdone itself and the Brewmaster’s dinner on Wednesday night will also feature special treats.

    Finally, we hope you continue to enjoy your first-rate magazine, newly-expanded to 64 pages. Many thanks to all the volunteers who put the time in to make it so special. In addition to the fantastic Cincinnati articles assembled by Lee Chichester, Ken Quaas, Mike Bartels, Rob Musson, and the Convention team, we have first-time writers Brent Laswell & Charlie Staats who present a terrific look at Pearl Brewery of San Antonio, and Tom Curran & Scott Butterfield exploring Walter’s of Pueblo, CO.

    Zee you in Zincy!

    John Ferguson, President

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