I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Can Close-Up - Falstaff 11 oz.

I have to admit I have been remiss about actual beer can blogging, lately. So I decided to blog about a couple of cans I picked up at our recent show at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (last Friday/Saturday).

The white flat top can pictured is from the late 1950s/early 1960s. Falstaff was a big seller at that time, and they had a number of breweries at that time, so this is not a rare can per se, except for a minor detail, it is an 11 oz can, rather than a 12 oz can.

On this can and the previous white flattop can, Falstaff listed the brewery at which the can was filled, along with the other cities along the side seam of the can. As I lived in El Paso for 14 years, this being an El Paso can makes it of interest. What is highly unusual about this is that it is an 11 oz can from a state where 11 oz cans were not sold.

Though I don't know the exact story behind the 11 and 15 oz cans sold in some western states, it was probably done for "tax loophole" reasons, i.e., to avoid the taxes on 12 and 16 oz. cans. In VA, SC, and LA, breweries avoided size-specific taxes by selling 10 and 14 oz. cans. The 14 oz cans proved popular enough that sales spread to other southern states, such as MS and GA. Brands such as Budweiser, Busch, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Meister Brau, Black Label, Falstaff, Burger, and National Bohemian were among those sold in the 14 oz cans in these states. Within the last 5 years, I seem to remember Old Milwaukee being sold in 14 oz cans in Louisiana.

In the western states of CA, WA, OR, UT, CO, NM, and AZ, 11 and (less commonly) 15 oz cans seem to be analagous to the 10 and 14 oz cans mentioned above, though the 11 oz cans were phased out earlier than the 14 oz cans. Some brands sold in 11 oz cans in these states included Coors, Schlitz, Olympia, Rainier, Black Label, Big Sky, Cascade, Sierra, Hamms, and Falstaff. Falstaff 11 oz flat top cans from San Jose, CA are not really unusual.

An 11 oz. Falstaff can from El Paso IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL. Coupled with the San Jose top (suggesting it was indeed filled in San Jose), it makes for some interesting possibilities. It just seems that with the San Jose brewery in production, why would they make 11 oz. cans for the El Paso brewery, when 11 oz cans could probably not be sold in Texas? I think it is likely an error can, i.e., the canning company made up a batch of 11 oz cans (slightly smaller in diameter) by mistake and El Paso being unable to use them, the batch was sent to San Jose for filling.

Such an oddity would primarily be of interest to Falstaff-specific collectors or Texas-specific collectors. Picking up a can with a story behind it is part of what makes the hobby interesting.

Another unusual Texas can I would like to get at some time would be a Carling Black Label from Fort Worth. Carling operated their newly-built Fort Worth brewery for perhaps 3 months before selling it to Miller around 1964 or so.


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