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Southeastern PA


Question: Name the Horlacher's Penguin


Top Row: Only two Allentown Breweries survived into the self opening era.


Allentown Horlacher's Brewery


Horlacher - although they did produce soft drinks and distilled water during prohibition,

Dutch Schultz received a friendly reception at Horlachers. Real beer was big business

(money) during prohibition, the public wanted it and the rewards were huge. Federal

Agents had to be careful not to be spotted by Schultz's men as this would be extremely

dangerous. The fermenting room on the top floor had a hidden trap door which contained hoses loading to a secret axe proof cellar containing storage tanks that could be emptied in mere seconds during a raid. Charlie Lieberman, later brewmaster, claimed that a pipe line was in place that crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey thus creating a short hop into New York City on Shultz's trucks. Probihition ended in 1933 and Charlie Lieberman was hired as brewmaster in 1937. He re-created Perfection Beer which was aged for nine months instead of the industry standard of three to five weeks. Passsengers on Ocean Liners and top Rail Lines were delighted with it. Also better restaurant and night clubs in NYC and Chicago served it to their clientele. 


A high Class Penquin with a cane and a top hat became their symbol. Shortages during World War II created problems for Horlacher and given the choice they sold back the supply to local Eastern Penna. restaurants, taverns, distributors, etc. and focused on New Jersey where their products were always popular (pipeline?)            

Horlacher   "It's A Case Of Flavor!"


   As a side note: in 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes stalled over Eastern PA. Rain was steady and hard day and night for five straight days. Flooding of epic proportions was everywhere and people were in need of fresh drinking water. Horlacher filled unused flat sheets of Bonanza and Bel Air (possibility the zips) with water that was distributed by the National Guard to people in need.


I knocked my golf ball in the woods one day, a friend went looking for my errant T-shot and came back holding a beat up Hub flat top can instead, guess I should have gone dumping. Finally got this self-opening can in 2013, a 37 years wait.


This explains the following Horlacher products sold in:

         New Jersey Liquor Stores

                     Bel Air                                                 Hub   

                     Coburger                                             Renaee Premium

                     Hofbrau                                               Rheinbeck

                     Holburg GEX                                       Weisbrod

                     Holburg LF (Liquor Fair)                      Wilco Premium


         New Jersey Supermarkets



                     PB Class A (Parkard Bamberger)



         Kappy's and Weistover also had New Jersey sales.


Second Row: Allentown 

Horlacher's - first eight cans. 

Allentown ; only two breweries survived into the self-opening era.

The Renaee Premium is my Holy grail can. The Horlacher Brewery Made 500 cases of Renaee in the morning and 500 cases of Rheinbeck in the afternoon on the same day in 1970. The Renaee cans were sold in a chain of Pharmaceutical stores in New Jersey.  The Rheinbeck cans were sold in Pennsylvania. New Jersey must have had a better garbage collection system than PA. Only one dumper Renaee Preminum can has ever been found. A can collector was allowed to enter the Horlacher Brewery after it closed. He found a six pack of the Renaee’s still in the brewery. Talk about indoor dumping! In 2013, a single flat sheet was found and rolled into a can using the correct lid, identified via this can.


Neuweiler Brewing - Two cans on right are from Neuweiler Brewing  "Nix Besser - none better"


Opened a new specialty designed brewery in 1913. When prohibition hit in 1920, the Neuweiler family kept the brewery open by producing near beers and soda. In 1929 Louis Neuweiler, the family patriarch died. His son Charles ran the brewery when Dutch Schultz (a.k.a. the Brooklyn Beer Baron) tried to purchase their brewery. Prohibition, the Depression , and one of New York cities toughest and most notorious gangsters sitting in your office making you a cash offer you can't refuse... interesting. The offer was refused however and Dutch was gunned down in 1935 by rival NYC gangsters.  In the mid sixties they produced Hochberg, an upscale European style beer using only the finest ingredients available. It as brewed using a special process called "Dry Hopping" for added flavor and aroma. It wasn't enough as national competition forced their closure in 1968.

Third Row: 



Sunshine Brewing - five cans on left. The Playmate Beer was sold by Ken White in the 1980 Garard Collection Sale. . There was some High Grade, very Rare zips in this collection.


Playmate Beer and ML: a few of the top executives at the Sunshine brewery in Reading traveled to a Brewer's convention being held in Chicago, at the time Hugh Heffner and his Playboy Empire was still centered there. Sunshine's people wanted to market a malt liquor as they accurately believed would become a best seller in the 60's. They agreed on the Playmate name (very popular at the time) and not wanting to be too risqué for the early 60's, they chose a simple but sultry looking face from a foreign magazine, to adorn their modern self opening cans. What could possibly go wrong? The ML cans with zip top lids were filled first and as the Playmate Beer cans with ring top lids were being filled, the Malt Liquor cans hit the store shelves. Heffner's legal team quickly threatened Sunshine with a million dollar lawsuit for infringement upon their Playmate name which was registered to them. Some of the ML cans had already been sold but Sunshine immediately recalled the rest. They claimed the "Beer" cans never left their building which could have been fabricated to minimize the lawsuit. Years later when the beer can collecting hobby became popular , both the ML and Beer cans were found under the brewery's loading dock. You will see 10 Malt Liquors for every Beer you see.


I was aware that Royal Farms was PA rarest zip but had never seen the can until an elderly St. Louis tabs specialist sold his entire collection to a dealer


Reading Brewing - five cans on right. The Reading can is from the "Old Reading" Brewery.

Bottom Row:

Two breweries survived into the tab top era .


Philadelphia - The five cans from the left are from Philadelphia


Ortlieb's Brewing 

I have an old picture of my father holding an Ortliebs can (believe it to be like the third can from the left), in his newly remodeled bar. So that can has special meaning to me.

The Playmate Beer is the actual can that was sold by Ken White in the 1980 Garard Collection Sale.




Schmidt's Brewing       "Beer as Beer should be!" 


Christian Schmidt became sole owner of a small brewery in the Kensington section of

Philadelphia in 1863. In 1892 his three sons, Edward A., Henry C. and Frederick W.

joined the company, thus becoming Christian Schmidt and Sons. Christian died in

1894 and Edward took charge of the firm. His wife was Emma Poth, the daughter

of Frederick Poth of another Philadelphia brewer. 


In 1876 Schmidt's purchased the Robert Smith Ale brewery and their very successful Tiger Head Ale became a Schmidt's brand. Schmidt's stayed open during Prohibition by producing cereal beverages but during a raid in 1925 federal agents found tanks, barrels and kegs of the real thing. After that Schmidt's stayed clear of the law and just one year after prohibition ended in 1933, they became the largest brewer in Pennsylvania. They continued their growth and in the early 1950's, they purchased the modernized Adam Scheidt Brewery in Norristown adding the Valley Forge, Prior and Rams Head Ale labels to their product line. In 1964, they purchased Schaefer's brewery in Cleveland Ohio and by 1971 they also bought Carling's Cleveland plant. About this same time national competition became fierce and Schmidt's quickly lost market share. By 1975 they closed the Norristown plant and even though Schmidt's beer won a "Taste Test" against Coors, the end was near. William "Billy" Pflaumer, a Kensington area beer distributor, bought Schmidt's in 1976 and tried his best to make a go of it but eventually he ended up in jail for tax evasion and Schmidt's was closed.


1955 - Acquired "Adam Scheidt Brewing Company" in Norristown, PA

1964 - Purchase Standard Brewing in Cleveland, OH

1971 - Bought Carling Brewing in Cleveland, OH and closed The Standard Brewery

1972 - Bought the brands of Duquense Brewing in Pittsburgh, PA and brewed

             the Duquense brands in their Cleveland plant. The Duquense plant in Pittsburgh

             is closed at this time. 

1975 - Aquired the labels of Reading Brewing Company which was closing.

1976 - The Christian Schmidt Brewing Company sold their breweries and labels to William (Billy) Pflaumer


Norristown  - the five cans on the right.

   Adam Scheidt brewing. C. Schmidt Brewing of Philadelphia bought the Valley Forge Brewing Company in 1955 and closed this facility in 1974.


Meanwhile back in Eastern PA, Horlacher's products never fully recovered their prominence in the local markets. The National Brands gained market share and in 1972 Schaefer Brewing (New York City) built an ultra modern brewery in Fogelsville - just west of Allentown. The end came in 1978.


"Schmidt's, One Beautiful Beer"                               

Rams Head Ale "The Aristocrat of Ales"

Prior Beer is "Liquid Luxury"

Valley Forge Beer "A taste worthy of its famous name.

Sunshine Beer: "Top Tap in Town"


Answer: The Penquin's name is Hugo!

Southeastern PA

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