Beer bottle labels: We have a rotating selection of beer bottle labels including labels from domestic brands and imported brands as well as entire collections of rare and unique bottle labels.
For some collectors, beer labels are more valuable, more interesting and easier to collect and keep than beer can collectibles or beer bottle collecting.
Some labels do predate the era of mass production. For example, some collectors will be interested in bottle labels made with metals such as sterling silver or gold. Sterling silver wine labels from the early 19th century have passed through our store priced at about $900 USD. Bock Beer, the German label, got its start in the mists of beer prehistory and its goat’s head mascot was there all along.
The real collectable labels began in the 1800’s especially the pivotal year, 1876.
Find collectable beer labels from the earliest days of mass brewing up to collectables and commemoratives of today.
Find collectible beer patches and collections of beer patches.
Beer labels arose in the era of mass production. Early bottles were always embossed with the manufacturer’s name or they were simply not labeled. That changed with the rise of the early breweries. Pre-Prohibition beer bottle labels were as simple as possible. Graphics were limited in that era, marketing appeals were poorly understood, and perhaps production costs were tempered by the economics of the era. Wine labels from this era are also valuable.
There are some notable wine and beer label collectables produced in this era. Anheuser-Busch was getting an early start on dominating the market for mass beer consumption. Anheuser Busch beer labels from this era are very collectable, valuable rarities. They can fetch as much as $600 to $800. Budweiser began using labels in 1876. The label incorporates everything that still stands today in the brand’s trademarked coat of arms. Coincidentally, the era of beer labels began in Britain and the UK in the same year. Breweries began compliance with trademark registrations, also in 1876.
Beer labels changed the way people thought of beer. Previous to labeling, beer was associated with a brewer (Frederick Miller or Theo. Hamm, for example) but labels arose the same time as trademarked names. These names were necessarily simpler and easier to remember and necessitated brevity. Budweiser (from the Budweis), Miller and Hamm’s began their domination of the market and part of the secret of their success was easy branding. Their success became textbook for future marketing, not only of beer but many other consumer verticals. Regional names were thought to appeal to regional allegiance and some other famous labels of this era include names like Philadelphia Porter and Ale, Saint Louis Lager and Milwaukee Lager. Of those, only allegiance to Milwaukee persists in the market, today.
Prohibition, the Depression and the era before and after WWII
After Prohibition, the era of mass bottling arose. Any labels from this era tended to be simple, using few colors and simply naming the brewer and their location. Some of the most collectible pre-Prohibition labels are die-cuts, cut specifically to accentuate the shape of a logo or the letters in a brand name. Post-Prohibition labels became more ornate and creative, often featuring mascots (such as the Hamm's Beer bear) and specific names for different brands from the same brewer.
By the late 1930’s mass bottling and the era of the big breweries was in full swing and labeling machines pasted paper labels to bottles in a massive production of today’s beer collectables. There were innumerable changes and innovations in packaging including the change of the bottle glass used, labeling machines and methods and the burgeoning movement away from wooden crates to beer cases that could also be mass produced. Original labels in this era are extremely collectable, valuable antiques.
Post World War II
Beer labels became much more colorful in the era after World War II. Beer appealed to the family values of that era. The rise of many new brands and the decline of some traditional names (especially Hamm’s) makes any era older than ten years ago interesting.
These changes are more reflected in beer advertising than in the labels and labels from recent decades are not considered valuable unless they are collector’s items at time of production, and of these there are very few.
Check out our store of beer bottle labels.
Collectible brands include popular labels like Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch as well as rare names like Indian head and many others.