In the Sixties, the many Small Breweries in their Anthracite (Hard Coal) region of NE Penna. faced a double whammy trying to stay profitable as National competition moved in and just as devastating demand for Anthracite dropped tenfold. Oil and Natural Gas were cleaner and more economical. Industries and home owners were converting to the new fuels. Only Yuengling (Pottsville) and Lion (Wilkes-Barre) survived the fallout.
Top Row: Kaiers (Mahanoy City) closed 1968
Senators Club and Whitman & Lord (Columbia Brewing, Shenandoah) closed 1967
Second Row: Gibbons (Lion Brewing, Wilkes-Barre) The can on the left is the USBC Book can.
Bavarian (Mount Carbon) closed 1977
Yuengling (Pottsville) America's oldest brewery with their first Zip Top on the left.
Third Row: Blue Bartel's (Edwardsville) closed 1968 - Gibbons (Lion) took the name and re-issued
"The Professor" (earlier Flat Tops) in the yellow can.
Stegmaier (Wilkes-Barre) products Gold Medal and
Stallion XII closed 1974. Gibbons (Lion) negotiated
ownership of their labels.
Stegmaier "Clean Taste, Clear Thru"
Bottom Row: F&S (Fuhrmann and Schmidt, Shamokin) purchased by Ortliebs (Philadelphia) 1966.
The local firm, with the same management still in place, continued to operate the brewery until 1976,
when all operations ceased. A fire gutted the building soon after. The Thrifty and the White
Muhlheim on the right in the third row also came from Shamokin's F&S Brewery. A group
calling themselves Brewmasters International had these two labels produced but never
managed to commence brewing operations. Two White Muhlheims were found in the
brewery shortly before the fire but I believe this is the only one that made it into the
hobby - probably unique!
I have my own story to tell about the White State Fair. I was going through a difficult time: in
the middle of a divorce, basically homeless and started a new job as the Maintenance Supervisor in a steel mill, working 26 days straight. Two off, and repeating this rotation over and over again. Every evening, I went straight from the steel mill to a vacant building I owned. Nights were filled with carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, converting it to my present home. Although I stopped collecting beer cans 17 years prior to the divorce, my ex-wife wanted me to take the cans with me, getting them out of my old house.
I didn’t have the time to even look at the collection. In fact, the only time I reserved for myself was one half hour each evening, watching the Wonder Years (Fred Savage) on an old portable TV set . I’d sit on an empty spackling bucket, eating my main meal of the day: sandwich or cold pizza since I didn’t have a kitchen yet. But on the bright side, I was FREE! I was earning great money, and didn’t owe alimony (the ex already got the lion’s share: the house, the furniture and my 69 Camaro convertible). One day, at the steel mill, I met a fellow beer can collector. As we talked, the juices started to flow again. Next thing, he gives me the name and phone number of a dealer who’s selling a 1+ White State Fair. The kitchen will wait: the can won’t. The day it arrived, I’m opening the box while sitting on the spackling bucket and watching the second from the last episode of the Wonder Years. The State Fair was all I was hoping it would be. I set the can down on the floor so I could eat my meager dinner while watching Fred and Winnie Cooper. They were young adults waiting tables in the Catskills. As usual, they were arguing. Then I saw it! One of them was carrying a tray of White State Fair in bottles! Talk about an omen, and a very good one at that. I got up off the floor, reset my spackle bucket and just knew everything was going to be alright. I ordered the kitchen the following week.