Oklahoma/Nebraska Utah/N. Dakota/
When you stop and think about the vast geographic area these cans covered in the United States, you can't help yourself from being impressed.
The brand names themselves cause one's mind to take flight: Big Sky, Lone Star, KC's Best, Dakota, Lucky, Great Falls.
Included below is information which hopefully gives the serious collector a view into their past
Self Opening cans were issued at three different locations.
1. Butte Brewing Company: Leopold Schmidt (better known for his super successful Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, Washington) co-founded the Centennial Brewery (named for the nation's 100th Birthday in Butte in 1876). Leopold and his brother, Louis (and their families) left Montana in 1896. The Brewery closed in 1963. The Butte can (one other known as a self-opening can) is the USBC2 book can. By 1944 Emil Sick (Rainier Brewing of Seattle Washington) controlled both the Missoula Brewing Company (Highlander) and the Great Falls Brewing Company.
2. The Missoula Brewing Company was closed upon Emil Sick's death in 1964. The Highlander label was brewed by Rainer in Seattle for a short time.
3. The Great Falls Brewing Company (Great Falls, Big Sky, Bohemian Club) was sold in 1966 to Blitz Weinhardt of Portland Oregon. Blitz Weinhardt shuttered the Montana plant in 1968 spelling the end of the Big Sky label. Both Great Falls and Bohemian Club (now in 11 ounce cans) were brewed in Portland.
Oklahoma third row, two left cans
Lone Star 1959-1973
Lone Star Brewing of Texas purchased the Progress Brewing Company of Oklahoma City in 1960. They brewed and canned Lone Star at this site and with excess capacity they subcontracted to National Brewing (Baltimore) and produced Colt 45 ML in both 12 and 16 ounce cans. They also produced Lone Start (Full Half Quart) also as a 16 ounce can at this site; however the sale of 16 ounce cans in the state of Texas was illegal until late in 1976. Lone Star Brewing closed this facility in 1971 and those 16 ounce Lone Star cans are rare and highly desirable.
North Dakota: third row, third can from left
The Dakota Malting and Brewing Company began by selling one million dollars worth of stock, mostly to the residents of the sate. It was 1961 in Bismark so there wasn't a long history of previous brewing success like most other breweries enjoyed. They hired Frank Bauer of the Goebel Brewing Company (Detroit) to start up and supervise operations. At first the beer was popular and well received, but if the beer sat awhile before being consumed, it caused the drinkers to develop diarrhea. The problem came from brewing with unfiltered waster. Bauer was replaced, unsold product was recalled, and a proper filtering system was installed. The filtered beer was very good but the public was wary and as sales were low, the creditors moved in. Dakota closed in September 1965
Utah: third row, four right cans
Ogden - Becker's and Golden Pilsner: Gus (Gustav) Becker and his younger brother Alfred took control of this brewery around 1890. They used the finest grains and ingredients money could buy and maintained very precise and accurate control of each step in the process of brewing beer. With their "World Class" operation for producing superior beer, their brewery flourished. With his brewing success Gus was appointed as a Director to many other local companies including a bank. John M Browning, famous for producing firearms with accuracy never achieved before, became a close friend to Gus. They formed a Trap Shooting Team and Gus was widely acknowledged as one of the Best in the World. He died in 1947 shortly before national competition moved in. Becker's closed in 1965 - the Golden Pilsner label was discontinued however Tivoli Brewing of Denver, Colorado picked up and reissued the Becker's label before they themselves closed in 1969.
Salt Lake City - Lucky and Fisher: Formerly the Fisher Brewing Company. In the late 1950's, Lucky Lager of San Francisco was rapidly gaining market share in Utah due to their low selling price. Fisher took them to court for price fixing and won the case along with a large cash settlement. Eventually Lucky Lager bought Fisher Brewing and moved the Fisher label to San Francisco and oddly started brewing the Lucky Label in Salt Lake. The Fisher can has turned up in 2017; it was previously unknown and not pictured in any of the books. The brewery closed in 1967.
Nebraska: bottom row
Omaha - When I think of the Storz Brewing Company, I see their iconic Farmer can, those Winterbru cans and the Gold Medal can - all Flat Top cans. By the time Self Opening cans were making their impact on the American market, Storz was feeling the heat of the national brands and those beautiful labels were sacrificed to help cut custs. Their beers did win Gold Medals in 1848 and again in 1905 in International Competition, but the Storz family members were every bit as distinguished as their beers. Not only business leaders, military leaders, race car drivers, pioneers in radio broadcasting, but also very active hunters and fisherman. Storz built a Trophy Room at the bewery to both display their hunting and fishing trophies and also to use to entertain their famous visitors and guests. June Allyson, Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Godfry, Eddie Rickenbacher, Jimmy Doolittle, top dogs of the Union Pacific, head honchos of General Motors all shared cold Storz beers in the Trophy Room while many times feted to the dancing of Fred and Adele Astaire whose father was a Storz beer salesman.
In the early 1960's Storz sold 51% of all beer sold in the state on Nebraska., more than all their competitors combined! The end came very quickly with Grain Belt Brewing of Minnesota taking control of operations in 1966 and closing it for good in 1972.
Storz Beer "The Same Good Beer
Year After Year