Schmidt's Beer : Motor City Flat Tops
by Chris Taylor (May, 1999)

     Schmidt's beer was popular on the east coast and in the Midwest from the 1940's through the 1970's. Detroit's Schmidt Brewing Company canned the brand in 12 and 32 oz. cone tops beginning in the 1940's. The 1950's found the brand being filled by the E & B Brewing Company, that opted for the flat top container for its modern market. Also, this Schmidt's Beer had the distinction of being Made By The WALSNEK Process, verified, by a small seal on the lower right corner of the label. No description of just what this step did to the taste of the beer was put on the can, so the purchaser was left to feel confident that the brewery only had his best interest in mind. It seems that Ohioans were avid drinkers of the brew, as many of the better specimens of these cans have Ohio tax stamps on their lids. No less than 5 different variations were produced by the early 1960s.

     The first Schmidt's flat top in Detroit (USBC 131-17) followed the metallic silver cone top (USBC 184-10) in design. By far the least common of the set, the white enamel label is much thinner than the subsequent can, but the metallic silver, yellow and red color scheme remains the same. This was in fact the last can produced by the Schmidt Brewing Company, before selling to E & B Brewing. A close inspection of this can reveals the Schmidt Brewing Company mandatory within the bottom gold band.

     The next Schmidt's flat top (USBC 131-18) follows the prior label almost identically. E & B Brewing enlarged the white label and changed the mandatory to reflect the new ownership. This and the previous can tarnish quickly due to the bright metallic background, so excellent condition examples are difficult to acquire.

     The third variation (USBC 131-19) shows a transition to a basic two color can. The label remains enamel white, but all writing within is enamel red and white. The Schmidt's logo is outlined in the same metallic silver as the body of the can, and was produced by the American Can Company (previous and subsequent cans are by Continental Can Company).

USBC 131-17 USBC 131-18 USBC 131-19

     The fourth can (USBC 131-20) is identical to the last except that the metallic silver outline around the logo has been dropped, making for an even more basic looking label.

     A decision by E & B to mellow their label (USBC 131-21) resulted in predominately white can. The enamel white and red tends to give the can an almost pinkish appearance. We Michigan collectors affectionately refer to this as the Candy Can Schmidt's.

     The last can (USBC 131-22) is what we call the "Super Man S Can", for obvious reasons. Incredibly, this can holds up rather well outside and I have actually dumped a couple descent examples of these before. The angled and sweeping logo of the 1950's label gives way to the more mechanical and space age label of the 1960's.

USBC 131-20 USBC 131-21 USBC 131-22

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