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However, until the early 1870s the lighter lager beers were a relatively unusual bottled product nationwide.When bottled it was mostly for local distribution due to the issue of spoilage, though the heavier beers (porter, ale, stout) did preserve better than lager due to higher alcohol and hopping levels, both of which acted as preservatives (Wilson 1981; Papazian 1991).(*See note about multiple sided bottles below.) Beer bottles were of thick glass also since they had to be able to survive extensive post-bottling handling and use since these bottles were typically re-used many times, as evidenced by extensive base and side wear to many examples.In fact, similar to soda/mineral water bottles, many (most?The two-tone stoneware bottle pictured to the far left was made in Great Britain during the 1870s or 1880s. This bottle also had a fragmental label noting that it contained either ale or stout (i.e., "Ale/Stout"). (Photo from e Bay.) Stoneware or ceramic bottles for beer were generally discontinued in the U. As noted on the Spirits/Liquor bottle typing page, the growing strength of the Temperance movement and rising anti-alcohol fervor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to the passage of ever increasing restrictions on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages including beer.The medium brown stoneware bottle to the immediate left is almost certainly American made (incised with J. SCHRIBER on the shoulder) and is fairly typical of a U. The power of the Temperance movement culminated in the addition of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on January 16th, 1919; the amendment written to take effect one year after ratification, i.e., January 17th, 1920.
Fortunately, there were stylistic differences between the typical containers for the two products that allows a person to reasonably differentiate which product a given bottle was used the of the time.
There was already a trend towards a lesser number of breweries producing higher volumes beginning in the late 1800s; the peak of breweries in the U. was in 1873 with 4,131 nationwide (Anderson 1973; Friedrich & Bull 1976).