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New Jersey #2


Question: GEM/GEX - What do the letters stand for?


The Hammonton NJ brewery targeted the Spanish/Latino market. The Goya has one side in English and the other in Spanish.


Pabst Corporate Management told their Newark plant that they were to supply the states of Virginia and North Carolina with their popular selling Big Cat malt liquor. Malt liquors were big seller with the baby boomers in the late 60’s, early 70’s.

San Juan ... Cervaza is Spanish for Beer  

                     Malta is Spanish for Near Beer


The snag was that those two states wouldn’t allow the malt liquors to sell with the beers, and so the breweries switched to calling it malt lager. Somebody at the Newark plant changed the Big Cat name, to Red Bird, believing Big Cat Malt Lager wouldn’t fool the authorities in Virginia and North Carolina.


Corporate nixed the Red Bird logo, insisting the name recognition their big Cat logo had obtained, would help boost sales. In the late 70’s, a Newark plant employee and big Pabst collector found six flat sheets in a filing cabinet. He received permission to keep the sheets and promptly sent them out to be rolled into cans. Here’s the catch: three of them were rolled as flat tops and the other three were rolled as ring tops, forever confusing collectors. Why they were rolled with different lids is lost to history (the employee died in 2012).


  1. Perhaps the cans were pre-sold with the buyers selecting the lid type

  2. Maybe the roller only had so many lids of one type and substituted available lids

  3. Or they simply used both lid types, not knowing for sure which lid type was correct.


In 2012, two more Red Bird flats were found on the bottom of another employee’s homemade toolbox. Those flat sheets were also rolled into cans bringing the Red Bird total to 8 cans. The can shown here was purchased from the son of Jack Martels: collector and publisher of the “Beer Can Bible” book.


Answer: Government, Employee, Mart / Exchange - a store on a military base



New Jersey #2

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