I’ll be the first to admit that I have never blogged before starting my job here at WDHM. When the idea came up to start a blog for our new website I was excited, but a bit hesitant with my lack of experience in the Blogging world. Since beginning the blog, my common points of interest have been writing about objects I find in the vault that I’m curious or unsure about; items of the past that I am unfamiliar with that raise questions and provide unique answers! Because I spend more time on these particular relics, I often brush past the everyday stuff that gets taken for granted, which can hold just as much interest as an unidentifiable artifact.
This was put into perspective when I brought our newest volunteer, Bill, into the artifact vault for a tour. Part of the pleasure I take from my job is the reaction and emotion I witness when people get to see our collection and the items they can relate to, or hold memories with. For Bill, this happened right at the shelf of glass bottles, particularly our beer bottle collection.
On the shelf is a collection of various beer bottles from different companies, of different sizes. To me, a non-beer drinker, they were just bottles, nothing terribly exciting. But then, Bill started talking about the smaller bottle, beside the long tall neck Pilsner. He recalled that they switched to a smaller and fatter bottle to put more beer in the bottles and less bottles in the case. He said that they were popular for a time and then were abruptly removed from the market, reverting back to the tall long neck bottles. I started to think, “hmm, I had no idea there was such a history to the beer bottle…maybe I should look into this, I do have a lot of beer drinking friends, after all.”
Turns out, the small fat bottle is what is known as the “stubby” and this stubby was VERY popular! The Stubby was a Canadian invention to improve the beer drinking experience. Designed to help beer chill faster, package easier, and facilitate shipping, the Stubby was the answer to increasing this popular Canadian tradition that we do so well. Beer, eh!
The Stubby entered the market in 1961 and remained a facet to the ale masters until its demise in 1983. Today, the Stubby stands as a collector’s item for the beer connoisseur. Some breweries, in recent years, have brought back limited time bottles for nostalgic purposes. It seems there are a number of beer enthusiasts that would revel in the joy of having the stubby back on the market, but the companies are sticking to the standards of the long- neck.
Thanks to Bill’s comments, I have learned more than I ever thought I would about beer bottles! I was surprised to yield as many results as I did in my quest of knowledge on the topic. Regardless of the bottle, it seems that as long as the beer is flowing, the Canadians are happy!
Now to find some wine bottles in our collection….
Thirsty for more information on the topic? Check out these great sources:
Canadian Living. “Canadian Beer Bottles, Do You Know Your History?” http://www.canadianliving.com/food/entertaining/canadian_beer_bottles_do_you_know_your_history.php accessed September 8, 2015.
Canadian Living. “Remembering Canadian Stubby Beer Bottles.” http://www.canadianliving.com/food/entertaining/remembering_canadian_stubby_beer_bottles_3.php accessed September 8, 2015.
CBC Digital Archives. “Beer: A Sad Farewell to ‘Stubby’.” http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/beer-a-sad-farewell-to-stubby accessed September 8, 2015.
Manitoba Historical Society. “To Brew or Not to Brew: A Brief History of Beer in Canada.” http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/54/beerincanada.shtml accessed September 8, 2015.
Ninkasi. “Beer History: The Stubby.”March 30, 2011. https://ninkasitoronto.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/beer-history-the-stubby/ accessed September 8, 2015.
On Beer. “Why I Love Stubbies.” http://www.onbeer.org/2012/09/why-i-love-stubbies/ accessed September 8, 2015.