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COM: April 2009

Hals (1950s)

Hals side. Hals front. Hals side.

This month's can is yet another from Baltimore.  I upgraded the original.

Hals Brewing (i.e. Globe)

In this issue let’s look at one of my favorite Baltimore cans, Hals Beer. I’ve liked this can ever since I saw it in Lew Cady’s book Beer Can Collecting in 1976. I am not sure why I liked the can; perhaps just because I thought the label was interesting.

Hals Beer is an example of a DBA, "Doing Business As" brewery. A DBA brewery uses a different name from the recognized, legal name of the business. Lots of breweries used such assumed names and many still do. The cans of Blue Moon in my refrigerator say they were made by the “Blue Moon Brewing Company” which is really Molson-Coors.

The front of the Hals can reads “Hals Brewing” but it was really produced by Globe Brewing, which was better known for producing Arrow Beer (see my December 2004 COM). Globe had continued operating during Prohibition as a bottler and then began brewing beer again in 1933. In 1948 it celebrated celebrated its 200th anniversary. During the post-Prohibition years its main brand continued to be Arrow Beer, but it also produced a bock beer and two ales: Arrow and Shamrock.

Globe introduced Hals Beer in 1952. This was the first time it had tried a new beer since its longtime Brewmaster, John J. Fitzgerald, died in 1944. The new beer was named after Dutch painter Franz Hals (1583-1666) and the label featured Hals’ famous painting The Laughing Cavalier.

This was the second time this painting was used on a can. Before World War II, San Diego's Aztec Brewing used the painting on labels for their Old Dutch brand. (see below) Why did Globe use the Hals name rather than Globe? Breweries often did this because their beer had gotten a bad reputation. However, I've seen no evidence that this was the case for Globe.

Laughing Cavalier.
Old Dutch label.

Hals beer, based on a Dutch recipe, was well received. It first sold in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1952 when trucks began delivering Hals beer to dealers in Washington, such as liquor stores and distributors. It was then introduced into the Virginia market and was advertised as having a Premium Beer taste, but “popularly” priced. Baltimore had to wait until July 14, apparently because Globe first wanted to test Hals outside of its immediate hometown. The test must have gone well. According to the brewery’s surveys, 74% of D.C. area dealers were sold out before the end of the first week. An initial customer survey, according to an article in the Maryland-Washington-Delaware Beverage Journal, reported that consumers liked the beer.

Hals newspaper ad. Hals window display.

A 1952 Hals newspaper ad and a window display.


Globe brewery launched a multi-media advertising campaign including newspaper, radio, and television ads. They sponsored television broadcasts of the NBA Baltimore Bullets basketball home games. Arrow appears to have remained Globe’s flagship brand however, rather than Hals, because most of Globe’s advertising for the period was for Arrow–not for Hals–and Arrow cans today are far more common finds than Hals cans. (Arrow Beer continued to be sold well into the 1960s, although it was not as popular as local Baltimore rivals Gunther or National Bohemian.)

According to “Who’s Who in Brew” Hals was made until 1963 by Hals Brewing, and from 1963-1970 by Globe. Hals was never put in pull tab cans so it must have been switched to bottles-only before 1963. The cans can be found in mid-1950s dumps in Virginia and Maryland. Although not rare, Hals cans are not a commonly-found brand and are a welcome find in good condition.


Hals front. I dumped this one as a mystery can in central Virginia not too far from the town of Mineral, and it cleaned up pretty well. This one was my original COM until I upgraded it in July 09.


Sources Used

Thanks to Bob Kay for the labels.

Maryland-Washington-Delaware Beverage Journal (various articles and ads)

Modern Brewery Age





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