Lion Brewery – Label Fun Esslinger

28 January 2010

 LionEsslingerLabel Here’s another great label courtesy of Jesskidden.  This one features Esslinger from Pocono Brewery Co (Wilkes-Barre, PA) in 12oz (355ml) size.

15 comments (click to read or post):

Jaysus 29 January, 2010 09:02  

I found an Esslinger beer tray in my basement last night, I don't know anything about the brewery, but the tray has Philadelphia as the location... just thought I'd share that.

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 09:37  

Cool....thanks Jaysus. Looks like it's in brand-new condition too. Very nice local beer keepsake.

Jaysus 29 January, 2010 10:11  

Yeah, my grandfather gave them to me before he passed away. Here are a few others (I wish I knew more about Tru-Blu, he gave me lots of stuff from there).

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 10:18  

Wow...they're all in very good shape. DO you display them or store them?

Jaysus 29 January, 2010 10:21  

I have just been storing them to date... I am working on building a bar, at which point I will proudly display them.

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 10:27  

Someone may have more tru-blu info. Good idea with the trays. They're in great shape and after your grandfather collected them I'd want to show them off in my bar too.

Lee Botschaner,  29 January, 2010 10:29  

Esslinger was a Philly brewery that closed in the early 60's then the brand went to Ruppert in NYC and finally ended up at the Lion. It was made up until about 2007 in 16oz returnables.

Tru Blu was a Northampton, PA brewery. The building still stands but the brand ceased in 1950.

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 10:47  

Thanks Lee...somehow I knew you guys would know.

JessKidden 29 January, 2010 13:25  

To fill in the gap between Ruppert and The Lion in "Lee's" Esslinger chronology, after Ruppert closed in the mid-1960's, Leibmann (Rheingold) bought their labels, and continued to brew and market Esslinger at its breweries (NY, NJ, MA)- tho' I only remember seeing the beer sold in PA, but it could have been sold elsewhere since it was real cheap IIRC.

After Rheingold folded (1977), C. Schmidt's bought all their labels, brewed Rheingold and Ruppert/Knickerbocker, sold McSorley's to Ortieb's and, oddly, sold Esslinger- the traditional Philly beer - to The Lion in W-B.

Never understood that one- you'd think it would be a natural promotional thing to have a Phila. brand "come home". Perhaps it'd been a "cheap beer" too long to try to revive at that point.

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 13:32  

Interesting chronology Jess. Seems odd that "the Philly beer" moved to Wilkes-barre. Did they keep marketing it as the Philly beer and brew it up here? I wish I had paid more attention when I was a younger beer drinker. I do recall for me that price (not taste) drove all decisions. I so also recall there being some brands that were so foul tasting that no low price would make me want to drink one.

Lee Botschaner,  29 January, 2010 14:19  

I always remembered Essling being sold in Reading, which is considerably closer to philly than W-B. I'm guessing the Lion shipped most of their esslingers to the philly/reading area.

I think when Ruppert had esslinger they were selling it in and outside of the philly area. Also, JK, do you know for sure that the Lion bought Esslinger from Schmidts? Could be they bought it directly from Ruppert, or also that they "picked it up" if it lapsed in copyright. I know some labels become fair game after a certain amoutn of time.

I remember some of my earlies drinking was schmidts version of "knickerbocker natural" in 16oz cans.

mybeerbuzz 29 January, 2010 14:22  

Interesting Lee....a lapse in copyright.

JessKidden 29 January, 2010 16:36  

"do you know for sure that the Lion bought Esslinger from Schmidts?"

That's what I recall sources at the time saying. The NY Times (online) notes that Rheingold bought Ruppert and Esslinger in 1965, when Ruppert closed. (Probably lots of breweriana online of Esslinger from the Orange, NJ or New Bedford, MA Rheingold breweries).

A 1980 Brewers Digest article on The Lion notes that they acquired the label in 1977- which was when Rheingold closed, and Schmidt's bought their brands. Robertson (Connoisseurs Guide to Beer) says Esslinger went from Schmidt's to The Lion, just as Ortlieb got McSorley's at the same time.

Lee Botschaner,  30 January, 2010 09:44  


It came to me last night that a Reading brewery-- Sunshine I believe-- had the esslinger label for a moment as well. I believe they released one can with the esslinger label. So you can add THAT brewery into the family tree!

sam k 30 January, 2010 16:22  

Jaysus, who would have guessed that Esslinger was strong enough a brand to warrant all that label trading and longevity? Over 40 years as an orphan! That's an accomplishment, and I guess a testament to the one-time strength of the brand as well. Good work, boys!

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