Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Oshkosh Lager Beer Cans, Then and Now

Here are a couple of cans of Oshkosh-brewed lagers separated by about 60 years.

The can on the left is from the late 1950s. The can on the right was filled at Bare Bones last Friday, November 15.

The 1950s Oshkosh Brewing Company can is made of heavy gauge steel with a flat top. You needed a church key to get any beer out of it. The label is printed on the metal. It weighs about three ounces. The Bare Bones can has a shrink-wrapped label and is made of aluminum. It weighs less than an ounce and has a stay-tab opening.

The version of the Chief Oshkosh can shown at the top was introduced in the spring of 1958. It was designed by Robert Sidney Dickens of Chicago. Dickens was a highly sought after package designer with clients such as Blatz, Hamms, Coca-Cola, and Quaker Oats. It was an expensive project for OBC. Dickens' charged $5,700; or about $50,000 in today's money.

Robert Sidney Dickens

The Bare Bones can was designed by Jody Cleveland, the head brewer at Bare Bones. Cleveland used the Dickens design as his model, updating it to give it a somewhat more contemporary feel.

The beer put inside those two cans is about as similar as the packaging would suggest. The recipe for Oshkosh Lager is based on the Chief Oshkosh Beer recipe from the 1950s. Cleveland made some slight adjustments to the recipe to make it more in line with current tastes.

Oshkosh Lager was introduced in February of this year. It was packaged in cans for the first time in May. That was a small run of hand-labeled cans filled on the brewery's countertop, crowler filler.

This time it was a much larger run of 27 cases packaged on a mobile canning unit. Canned six-packs from this run of Oshkosh Lager are now available at the Bare Bones Tap Room. Maybe next time, they'll box them like those 1950s sixers of Chief Oshkosh. But I wouldn't count on that.


  1. Congratulations Jody!! That is awesome!!!! Derek

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