Michigan's Toughest Tabs : Part I
by Chris Taylor (May, 1997)
Many notoriously common cans have been produced in our fine state over
the years. Take for example the ever present yellow Johnny Pfeiffer cans.
They are truly the flattop's equivalent of Billy Beer cans (matching each
other in abundance as well as in poor flavor). Along with such staples as
STROH'S and GOEBELs, most collectors would agree that the common brands of
Michigan are easy to come by; flooding many a bargain bin and
"5 for $1.00" totes at trade shows. With as many different cheap beers
over the years, it's hard to believe that even more common brands were
"imported" to Detroit from Indiana. Two of the most common Indiana brands
that were produced in Michigan in the mid 1960's are DREWRYS
and the OLD DUTCH
The third member of this Michigan Tab Top Trinity is the elusive SCHMIDT'S zip top (BCU 116-31). This E & B Brewing Co. entry is so odd; never being filled in flat. I can't think of a zip top that's more difficult to come by. I have only found 2 of these on dumping excursions over the years. Its unique split-label design, in striking gold, red and black, makes it stand out in any collection. Interestingly enough, this can also comes in an even rarer triangle tab as well.
The tie between the Indiana breweries and Detroit seems to have been close, as is evident in the DREWRYS, OLD DUTCH, and woodgrain PFEIFFER'S pull tops they jointly produced in the '60's. Another interesting fact of an E & B BREWING CO. tie to Indiana lies in a group of 1960's, 16oz. E & B bottles we acquired that were filled in South Bend. I had not seen an E & B label from Indiana prior to our discovery of these bottles. Since that time, identical E & B labels filled by Jos. S. Pickett & Sons of Dubuque, Iowa have surfaced. Historically, as sales at the Detroit's Pfeiffer Brewing Company declined, Associated Brewing took over the company and produced a few of its brands in Detroit to help keep up with demand. But operating costs made the venture unprofitable and the brewery closed in the mid 1960's. Thanks to Dave Launt for the information on the brewery.
I hope to generate interest in cans produced in our state and will focus on the more curious Michigan variations in future issues of our newsletter. Until then...
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