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COM: May 2008

Budweiser flat (circa 1936)

Gold Budwesier. Gold Budwesier. Gold Budwesier.

I'm not going to do a history of Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer, but I thought since so many people drink Budweiser, that it'd be interesting to show one of their very first cans.   The side panel (see below) reads "We guarantee that this beer is brewed by the original Budweiser process from the choicest hops, rice, and best barley malt."  I suspect this wording was added because there was concern that some customers might think that the canned beer was different that the bottled Budweiser.  In 1937 the wording was changed to read "This is the famous Budweiser Beer brewed by our original process from the choicest hops, rice and best barley malt."  Both panels are shown below.

Guarantee panel. Famous Panel.

 

The gold design was used until early 1950 with few major modifications.  In 1949 they dropped the opening instruction panel on the back of the can.  In 1950, when the required IRTP tax statement was dropped, the Budweiser can was completely redesigned using red and gold to match the bottle label.   The following chart shows the Budweiser flat tops from 1936-1964.  Most of the dates are taken from "The Beer Cans of Anheuser-Busch: An illustrated History" published in 1978 by the brewery.  This chart does not include the many small variations that exist for many of these cans.   For example, starting in 1952 the cans used to list all of the Anheuser-Busch breweries then in operation.  So when a new brewery was opened the label would change to include the new brewery.  They abandoned this practice in 1977. 

CAN
DATES
 
NOTES
1935 Bud.1935 budweiser.1935 Bud OI panel.
1936-1938    The first OI (Opening Instruction) can. There are numerous variations as the wording on the front of the can was changed slightly, the number of stars under the eagle's feet changed, etc, over the life of the gold can.  The basic design stayed the same, however.
late 1930s can.late 1930s can.late 1930s can. 1938-1942   The FAA (Federal Alcohol Administration) required can labels to separate the beer information from the canning information, so a black line was added down the side of the can.  This ruling affected all brands, not just Budweiser of course.
1944-1946    The production of beer cans for civilian use was stopped for the war in 1942 and resumed in 1947. The olive-drab (or OD) can was made for use by the US military.  They are fairly scarce.
Late 1940s can.Late 1940s can.Late 1940s can. 1947-1949    The post war OI can.
None OI gold bud. 1949-1950    The gold non-OI can.  (I show just the one side here to illustrate the empty spot where the OI panel used to be.)
1951 Bud can.1951 Bud can.1951 Bud can. 1950-1952    The one sided gold/red Budweiser can.  Made to look like the bottle label for the first time.
2 side gold red bud. 1952-1956    The double-sided red/gold can.
1956 Bud can. 1956-1958    Only on the market for about a year and a half, the split label white/red can is not rare (Budweiser sold too many cans every year) but it's the least common design.
1958 Bud can. 1958-1964    The modern-looking Budweiser label. 
       

1936 Bud ad.

1936 Budweiser ad.  Click to see larger version. (opens new window 370 kb)

Sources Used

Anheuser-Busch. The Beer Cans of Anheuser-Busch: An illustrated History. 1978

 

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