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From Kegs to Bottles

In the 19th century, breweries originally distributed their beers in kegs, barrels and jugs of varying capacities. In 1897, retailers could order 6.25-gallon (28-litre) kegs or barrels with a capacity ranging from 12.5 to 50 gallons (56 to 227 litres). In drinking establishments, customers bought beer by the glass, ordering by brewery name and brewing process (ale, lager).

With industrialization came the mass-production of bottles, and in the mid-1800s sales of Dawes bottled beers took off. But it was not until the early 1900s that the brand was promoted on labels, and even caps. Consumers stopped ordering an ale, a stout or a porter and began asking for particular brands. This was the context in which Dawes launched Black Horse.

The distribution of beer in bottles led to self-service, with consumers free to pick up and take away prepackaged quantities in grocery stores. The packaging protected the product, facilitated its distribution and influenced consumer choice. It also helped develop the notion of brand image, since consumers recognized the brand or brewery name, the emblem or logo, the distinctive typeface or other aspects of the packaging that set a product apart from the competition.

To learn more about kegging beer, watch the clip from the film Here’s How on the New Media: Moving Images page.