Beer bottles are an important part of the Royal BC Museum’s history collection. Not surprising, since brewing has been and continues to be a major industry throughout the province. The bottles in the museum collection originated in nearly all areas of British Columbia, which gives us an opportunity to tell many fascinating local stories through this rich history.
The selection of bottles found in this issue of Curious Quarterly provide a snapshot of this wide diversity of Breweries. Nearly every community of any size had its own brewery and sometimes several. People like their beer! Most Breweries though were relatively short lived and often changed ownership.
Beer has been placed in bottles for over 300 years, many of the earlier bottles were made from pottery. Glass became popular after World War I and most pottery bottles had been replaced by glass by 1920. Strong and heavy black glass bottles had also been used prior to this time though. As early as 1892 it was noted that beer in brown bottles lasted better than those in other coloured glass (the brown glass was better at blocking ultraviolet light that changed the composition of beer). Not all brewers initially realized this and so we continued to see a multitude of different coloured bottles available to consumers.
Lucky Lager was initially brewed in San Francisco in 1934. It is still brewed by Labatt and is most popular on Vancouver Island and across southern British Columbia. Labatt currently brews Lucky at its Columbia Brewery in Creston, BC.