Beer Case, Eigenbrot Brewing Co.

This wooden case for carrying bottles of beer was used at the Eigenbrot Brewing Co., in Baltimore, Maryland, in the 1890s. Made of pine, both ends are edged with strips of metal for reinforcement. Cut into each end are openings for lifting and carrying the case by hand. The case is stamped on both sides with “Bottling Department of the Eigenbrot Brewing Co. of Baltimore City” and “Trademark Adonis Pale Beer Registered.”
According to the donor, a former brewmaster, the case was likely made to carry quart (32 oz.) bottles, specifically the tall Apollinaris style of bottle, set on their sides. Apollinaris is the name of a well-known spring in Germany, where mineral water had been bottled, probably in earthenware containers, beginning around 1852. The name became associated with a style of tall, glass bottle with a short, rounded “blob” finish (at its mouth). The Apollinaris style was used for bottling mineral water and, beginning in the early 1870s, for lager beer as well. The bottles would have been closed with “Lightning” stoppers and toggles.
German immigrants made a significant impact on brewing history in Baltimore. In the mid-nineteenth century, individuals established their own companies or formed partnerships to build breweries for small-scale, local production. These early efforts grew quickly with the adoption of new technologies and transportation systems as well as the rapid expansion of markets. Although Henry Eigenbrot was American-born, he benefitted from the business successes of these German immigrants, particularly Ferdinand Joh, his father-in-law. Joh had established a brewery with another immigrant, Philip Odenwald, in 1862, and after Odenwald’s death a decade later, Joh went into business for himself. After Joh’s death, Eigenbrot inherited the brewery in 1876, at which time the company already had its own bottling plant. By 1891, Eigenbrot was producing 14,000 barrels annually and, with a new partner and plant expansions, production increased to 45,000 barrels per year by 1895. At the turn of the twentieth century, the brewery was producing 100,000 barrels per year. The Eigenbrot brewery remained in business until the start of Prohibition in 1920.
This wooden beer case is part of a large collection of brewing material donated to the museum in 1967 by former brewmaster Walter Voigt, of Ruxton, Maryland, near Baltimore. Voigt’s collection consists of objects and archival materials reflecting the history of brewing in the mid-Atlantic region between 1870 and the beginnings of consolidation and large-scale, industrial production in the 1960s. His correspondence reveals an interest in preserving the history of brewing in America before brewmasters were “replaced by chemical engineers and highly trained chemists in modern laboratories.” Voigt’s papers are housed in the museum’s Archives Center, Collection #ACNMAH 1195, “Walter H. Voigt Brewing Industry Collection, 1935-1967.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
case, beer
overall: 6 in x 15 in x 29 in; 15.24 cm x 38.1 cm x 73.66 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Walter Voigt
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