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COM: March 2008

Boston Light Ale crowntainer, 1940

Boston Beer crowntainer. Boston Beer crowntainer. Boston Beer crowntainer.

I picked up this can from one of the New England gang at Blue-Gray.  They apparently dumped quite a few of these as they had at least 10 of them when I picked this one up.  I think I got there early enough to grab one of the best ones. This one has a silver cone (trust me), the all white one seems to be tougher.  It's also a good example of how the paint on a can will often protect the can in the ground.

Boston Beer Company: 1828-1956

The crowntainer featured above brags that is came from America's Oldest Brewery.  Boston Beer Company was founded in 1828 and for a time in the 19th century it was one of the larger breweries in the US. Boston had almost 30 breweries in the 1890s and Boston Beer was one of the largest. At its peak in the late 1870s it was making well over 70,000 barrels a day, selling ale and porter (not lager, despite the “beer” in its name). Like other breweries throughout the US, it had to close during Prohibition. It reopened in the mid 1930s but never regained its old position, even though it was one of only a handful of Boston breweries to reopen. They did outlast most of their Boston city rivals. Commercial closed in 1940, Star closed in 1952. In 1953 Croft was sold to Narragansett. That left Boston Beer and Haffenreffer. Boston Beer closed in 1957, and Haffenreffer lasted until 1964.

side panel.

Boston Light Ale and Boston Light Beer were introduced in early 1940 as part of an advertising campaign playing on the Boston Lighthouse. It not only included the new brands, but a radio show. The “Boston light Boys” (a local quartet) had a radio show on WEEI at 10:45 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Starting in April the started promoting Boston Light beer. The brewery also sponsored large outdoor display ads through the Boston area.

(Left: the side panel showing the lighthouse. Click on the image to see a larger version.)


The sign on the outside of the brewery and the copper brewing kettle. Circa late 1930s.



Name Changes

Boston Beer Company: 1828-1918

Boston Beer Company: 1936-1956
(aka Imperial Brewing Company, 1954-1956)

Sources Used

Anderson, Will. Beer: New England (Portland, Maine, 1988)

"Nation's Oldest Brewery Introduces 'Boston Light' Ale and Beer" Brewers Journal. May 15, 1940.

One Hundred Years Of Brewing (Chicago 1903)

Van Wieren, Dale P. American Breweries II  (West Point, PA.: East Coast Breweriana Association, 1995)


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