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Minnesota #1


Question: Every Collector knows the Hamm’s Beer Bear from the land of Sky Blue waters – what is the Bear’s name?


The gold Arrowhead and the two Burgies on the right are all Book cans. The Cold Spring in the middle (no opener needed in blue), is better condition than the book can.

   The year 1965 saw the Hamm's Brewing Company of St. Paul celebrate its 100th year as a family owned business. Things appeared well on the outside aas they were the eighth largest Brewer in the nation in 1964. But on the inside, the Hamm's family saw the "Hand Writing on the Wall" and were searching for a buyer for their brewery. The family's efforts to expand their brewing interest to a national level were unsuccessful.


     1954 - Hamm's purchases the Rainier Brewery in San Francisco.

     1958 - Hamm's purchases the Acme Brewery in Los Angeles from Liebman (Rheingold) Breweries of New York City.

     1959 - Hamm's purchases the Gunther Brewery in Bailtimore, Maryland

                They replaced the Gunther label with their Hamm's label and sales fell off.

     1963 - Baltimore brewery sold to Schaeffer Brewing of New York City.

     1963 - Hamm's purchases the Gulf Brewing Company of Houston, Texas

     1965 - Heublin, Inc. purchases Hamm's Brewing

     1972 - Houston Brewery closed.

     1972 - San Francisco Brewery closed.

     1972 - Los Angeles Brewery closed.


When Heublein, Inc. purchased the Hamm's Brewing Company in 1965 they were not in the business of brewing beer. The Food and Beverage industry was their forte so purchasing Hamm's was not entirely a complete unknown. They were particularly strong in the Wine and Spirits business controlling Smirnoff Vodka, Harvery's Bristol Crème Sherry, Guiness Stout, Bass Ale and even Perrier mineral water. They controlled A-1 Steak Sauce, Grey Poupon mustard and Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Food Industry. Many of Heublin's top executives didn't agree with the purchase of the Hamm's Brewery but Heublin's new president, Ralph A. Hart correctly believed that more and more Americans chose to drink their beer in their own homes rather than in the bars. Mr. Hart pushed Hamm's to place a "Draft" beer in a can which was an immediate success. Other brewing companies quickly followed suit. Check "Cans by Type" on this site. Heublein had Hamm's can Velvet Glove Malt Liquor and Mr. Hart was promoted to Chief Executive officer. Heublein had many other irons in the fire and distributors failed to rotate etheir stock. Hamm's was being sold "stale". Sales fell off and by 1973 having closed the other Hamm's plants, Heublein sold the St. Paul facility. Ownership changed hands a couple more times but by 1997 the St. Paul facility cased brewing forever.


Hamm's "From the Land of Sky Blue Waters" [(Echo) Waters]


Hamm's "The Gold Standard of all Fine Beer"


Grain Belt   1. "Been a long time a-brewing"

                    2. "The Friendly Beer with the Friendly Flavor"



Fitger's Brewing in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior used a lighthouse on their cans (center logo) in advertising. The city voted for prohibition in 1917, a full two years before national prohibition went into effect. While their competitors folded, Fitger's fought to stay afloat. They produced candy bars, bottled soda and eventually developed a non-alcoholic mixer called Picwick which became very popular. Later Fitger's developed another non-alcoholic mixture called Silver Spray which mixed so well with bootleg liquor it eventually was being sold in 31 states. When prohibition ended, Fitger's reestablished their brewing business and quickly developed into a major regional brewer. They closed in 1972 when the National Brewers moved in.

Minnesota #1

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