In Germany, Oktoberfest is celebrated at a 16-18 day festival that runs from late September through the first weekend of October. Although the festivities began in Munich in 1810, they are now celebrated around the world, and often throughout the whole month of October, due in large part to the beverage of choice during Oktoberfest…BEER!
Cummins Label is a proud printer to numerous craft breweries. We are also located in Kalamazoo, MI, which happens to be listed as a Top 10 Beer City in the US. For these reasons, we felt it would be fun to pay homage to the tradition of Oktoberfest. We dug up some interesting facts about the stories told on some of the most well known beer labels. Impress your friends with this trivia as you celebrate Oktoberfest.
The first ever trademark in the UK is Bass’ famous red triangle. It is filed in Great Britain’s Intellectual Property Office under the registration code UK00000000001. A Bass employee rang in the New Year by waiting outside of the registrar’s office to ensure that the company was the first to file for a trademark when the office opened on the morning of January 1, 1876. The red triangle was chosen because it was unmistakable and distinct. Interestingly enough, it was also easy for a drunk to spot from across a pub.
2. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Originally called Pabst Best Select, the name was changed after the beer won the blue ribbon by being named America’s Best at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. They also used over one million feet of silk each year tying a blue ribbon around every bottle. In the 50’s, they stopped this practice and started printing the image of the blue ribbon on their labels.
The eagle on the Yuengling label is meant to pay respects to the company’s history. The company started in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania as the “Eagle Brewery” by a German immigrant named David Gottlob Jüngling. However, Mr. Jüngling anglicized his name to Yuengling, and when his brewery burned down in 1831, he opened a new brewery using his new American name.
Although Heineken admits no one really knows what the red star on the label means, they have offered some guesses. Some possible explanations found on their website include being “a symbol of European brewers in the Middle Ages who believed it to have mystical powers to protect their brew,” or that “the position of a star on the front door of the brewery indicated the stage of the brewing process,” or “that four points of the star accounted for the elements earth, fire, water and wind and that the fifth point is the unknown, which is an element that brewers in the Middle Ages couldn’t control.” Dutch businessman, Alfred Heineken, wanted the logo to have a “friendlier” look, so he changed the font and designed a “smiling ‘e'” by giving the letter a slight tilt.
5. Rolling Rock
Heineken isn’t the only brewery with a mystery surrounding some of the elements on their labels. The meaning of the “33” on a Rolling Rock label is also a guessing game. Some popular guesses include:
- It took 33 steps to get from the brewmaster’s office to the brewing floor in the Latrobe brewery.
- 33 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for drinking beer.
- 33 stands for 1933, the year prohibition ended (or the year the Pittsburgh Steelers were founded).
- The racehorse on the bottle wore 33.
- The water used for the original batches was taken from a stream marked “33” by the Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission.
- There are 33 words in Rolling Rock’s pledge of quality, which is printed on every bottle.
- The “33” was to inform typesetters of the word count, but they accidentally left it in.
What special meanings are hidden in your label? We’d love to hear how you came up with your design. Be sure to leave us a comment and share your label’s story with us!