Patent No. 1981627A: Coaster

Today in 1934, US Patent 1981627 A was issued, an invention of Ralph S. Merriman, assigned to the Closure Service Company, for his “Coaster.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to an article of manufacture designed for use as a tray or holder for glass tumblers, bottles or the like.


Patent No. 5980959A: Methods And Apparatus For Enhancing Beverages

Today in 1999, US Patent 5980959 A was issued, an invention of Bernard Derek Frutin, for his “Methods and Apparatus for Enhancing Beverages.” Here’s the Abstract:

Enhancing the foam head on a bottled beverage where a pressurized container is housed within the neck of the bottle and above the level of the liquid and so arranged that upon opening of the bottle the pressurized container also opens to release the liquid stream therefrom initially to float on the top surface of the beverage in the bottle.


Patent No. D191695S: Holder For Beer Foam Scrapers

Today in 1961, US Patent D191695 S was issued, an invention of Harold Austin, for his “Holder for Beer Foam Scrapers or the Like.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The ornamental design for a holder for beer foam scrapers or the like as shown and described.


Patent No. 7810679B2: Beer Dispensing System With Gas Pressure Reservoir

Today in 2010, US Patent 7810679 B2 was issued, an invention of Albert W. Wauters, Ian Anderson, and Edward P. Duffy, assigned to Anheuser-Busch Inbev S.A., for their “Beer Dispensing System with Gas Pressure Reservoir.” Here’s the Abstract:

A home beer dispensing apparatus has a keg having a self-contained bag filled with a beer and a pressure system. The pressure system creates a pressurized air space between the keg inner walls and the bag to assist in the dispensing of the beer. The pressure system has a keg one-way air valve mounted to a top wall of the keg to permit entry of pressurized air into the keg. The pressure system has a pressure reservoir mounted in the dispensing apparatus outside the keg and in fluid flow communication with the keg one-way valve. The reservoir stores a charge of pressurized air and supplies at least a portion of this charge to the keg through the keg air valve when the dispensing apparatus is operated to dispense the beer. The reservoir provides a reserved charge of pressurized gas that is on hand to reduce dampening pressure fluctuations during beer dispensing which can result in beer frothing, especially during the early stages of beer dispensing when the air head space in the keg is small. Further, the apparatus may also have a pressure sensing system adapted to measure time rate of pressure change in the keg. The apparatus has a signaling device responsive to the time rate of pressure change in the keg to produce a signal related to volume of beer remaining in the bag. Preferably, the signal is displayed visually on the dispensing apparatus.


Patent No. 6953256B2: Illuminated Tap Handle

Today in 2005, US Patent 6953256 B2 was issued, an invention of Brent Turner, for his “Illuminated Tap Handle.” Here’s the Abstract:

One object of the invention is to provide an illuminated tap handle including a handle with one end capable of being secured to a tap and a threadable and detachable end allowing the placement of a removable energy source into the handle completing a circuit and illuminating a light source connected to a conducting strip inside the handle when the threadable end is substantially threaded onto the handle and a conducting portion on the threadable end touches the conducting strip and energy source. Another object is where the conducting strip is situated within the tap handle such that when the threadable end is partially or completely unthreaded the tension of the conduction strip is released and situated just above and not touching the energy source, but when the threadable end is substantially threaded onto the tap handle, the conducting strip is again pressed onto the energy source completing the circuit.

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Patent No. 2016926A: Apparatus For Emptying And Cleaning Beer Pipes

Today in 1935, US Patent 2016926 A was issued, an invention of Rees Damon, assigned to Rahr Malting Co., for his “Apparatus For Emptying and Cleaning Beer and Other Pipes.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to methods of and apparatus for cleaning pipes, and other liquid containers and connections.

It is particularly applicable to the pipes, tanks, containers, and connections between the beer kegs and drawing faucets of beer dispensing apparatus, which are usually cleaned at the present time by discharging through the pipes and connections a cleaning fluid, such as water containing a cleaning material, and sometimes also air under pressure.

Before cleaning such pipes and connections, it has been necessary heretofore to draw 01f a considerable amount of beer in the pipes, which ‘was thus wasted. Furthermore, after the dispensing apparatus has been out of use overnight or during holidays, it has been necessary when dispensing was resumed, first to draw off all the beer in the pipes, etc., down to the supply kegs, because the beer becomes stale and otherwise deteriorates when it has been left standing in the pipes for a considerable period of time. All this beer was thus wasted causing considerable loss every day.

My invention comprises first a simple, convenient and effective method of and apparatus for forcing and restraining the beer in the pipes and. connections back into the supply kegs and thus saving all the beer, before cleaning the pipes and also before closing the bar for the night or holidays.

My invention also comprises a simple, convenient and effective method of and apparatus for cleaning the pipes and connections.

My invention also comprises various novel features of construction and combinations of parts hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims.


Punny Bars

If you’re one of those people who can barley stand a bad pun, you may want to reconsider reading this post. Personally, I’m a ferment believer. I love a good pun, the more groan-inducing the better, but I have learned that there are people in the world who do not agree; and while I can’t understand them, I do try to sympathize. So be warned, weizen up and it will be smooth aleing. Hopefully, bad puns are the yeast of your problems. This post is just for Schlitz and giggles, and for what it’s wort, it will all turn out for the best. Ales well that ends well.

So the website Atlas Obscura partnered with Digg to crowdsource groan-inducing puns that businesses used in naming themselves. You’ve seen them, ones like “Hannah and Her Scissors” or “A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn.” So they put out a virtual call for submissions and got around 3,000 back, whittled down to 1,900 after eliminating duplicates. In the end, they decided that while many submissions weren’t technically puns, but also included movie allusions, homophones, and dirty words, they were funny enough and were in the same spirit so allowed many of those, too. Apparently the most submitted name was for Vietnamese noodles, “9021-Pho,” and there were also inexplicably quite a few hair salons named “Curl up and Dye.”

Then they created an interactive map with all of the punny names, which they called The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America. They even divided them into major categories, including Cleaning Businesses/Flower Shops/Portable Bathrooms, Coffee shops, Doctors and Dentists, Food Trucks, Hair/Nail Salons, Pet Care, Restaurants and Other (including retail stores, vape shops and lots of yarn stores).


Then there was one other category that caught my eye: Bar/Pubs, which even included one brewery, although I’m not sure I would have listed it. Since it was crowdsourced, I feel certain they probably missed a few, or even a lot, given how many bad or punny bar names I’ve seen over the years. Some of these name you just know had to be created after a few drinks. Do I think alcohol may have been involved? Of Coors I do.

The Full List of Pun Bar and Pub Names:

Abe’s on Lincoln, Savannah, GA
Al Smith’s Saloon, East Troy, WI
Anchor Management Bar and Grill, Oroville, CA
Bar Celona, Pasadena, CA
Bar None, San Francisco, CA
Beer and Loathing in Dundee, Omaha, NE
Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City, UT
Brews Brothers, Galveston, TX
Brews Brothers Taproom, Murphysboro, IL
C’MON INN, Fountain, CO
Catcher in the Rye, Los Angeles, CA
Chez When Cocktail Lounge, Sedalia, MO
Dancin’ Bare, Portland, OR
Deja Brew, Wendell, MA
Devil’s Advocate, Tempe, AZ
Dew Drop Inn, Cincinnati, OH; Washington, DC; Oak Creek Canyon, AZ & New Orleans, LA
Dick’s Halfway Inn, Rosedale, MD
Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar, Washington, DC
Fumducks, Houston, TX
Gordough’s Donuts, Austin, TX
Hi Dive, San Francisco, CA
Holmes Plate,Corning, NY
John’s Plumbing, Greensboro, NC
Kegler’s, Crest Hill, IL
Lei Low, Houston, TX
Longshots, Joliet, IL
LowBrau, Sacramento, CA
Mother Muff’s, Colorado Springs, CO
Mustang Alley’s, Baltimore, MD
My Brothers Place, San Bruno, CA
Neil’s Bahr, Houston, TX
Nice Ash, Waukesha, WI
Olive Or Twist, Portland, OR & Pittsburgh, PA
Paddy O’Beers, Raleigh, NC
Pour House, Hartford, CT; Jamison, PA; Exton, PA; St Louis, MO & Sacramento, CA
Sir Vezas, Tucson, AZ
Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, Fairbanks, AK
South Side Liquor Box, Toledo, OH
Stocks and Blondes, Chicago, IL
Stowaway Pub,Stow, OH
Swagger Inn, Lyndon Station, WI
Tequila Mockingbird, Ocean City, MD
The Big Legrowlski, Portland, OR
The Crossbar, Havertown, PA
The Crow Bar, Mount Holly, NJ
The Frosty Beaver, Cleveland, OH
The Hungry Beaver, Wrangell, AK
The Picnic Tap, Nashville, TN
The Pour House, Siren, WI; Raleigh, NC & James Island, SC
The Red, White & Brew, Hammond, LA
The Stagger Inn, Edwardsville, IL
The Tapp, Tarrytown, NY
The Tavernacle, Salt Lake City, UT
The Trappe Door, Greenville, SC
The Wine Seller, Williamsburg, VA
The Wurst Bar, Ypsilanti, MI
Thew Alibi, Coos Bay, OR
Thirst N’ Howl, Little Rock, AR
Torrey Pints, La Jolla, CA
Unwined, Discovery Bay, CA
What Ales You, Burlington, VT
Winegasm, Astoria, NY
Wish You Were Beer, Madison, AL
Wit’s Inn, New Orleans, LA
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA

While the original list is now closed, if you know of one they missed that would fit into the spirit of this list, please add in the comments here. I feel confident there are many more. And if they included beer names, or even just hop pun names, the list would run into the thousands.

Still one of my favorite beer names.

Pre-Revolutionary Inns & Ale Houses Of Old Philadelphia

Here’s another fun historical artifact that I came across when I one of my beer ads was for the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1774, incorporated in 1887, and was apparently acquired by Schmidt’s around 1881. In 1909, Schmidt’s, through their Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company brand, commissioned a local artist, James Preston, to create a series of twelve works depicting pre-revolutionary taverns and inns in or near Philadelphia as way to promote the heritage of the Robert Smith beer brand.

James Moore Preston (1873-1962) was artist and illustrator who trained under Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Preston also did one cover for the “Saturday Evening Post,” in April 1905, although his most active period was during the 1920s. Here, you can read more about Preston’s

And here’s more about Robert Smith, from an article in Zymurgy magazine by Pennsylvania beer historian Rich Wagner from 1991.

Another brewer who withstood the test of time was Robert Smith. What was to become Robert Smith’s Ale Brewery had its humble beginnings in 1774 when Joseph Potts established a brewery at Fifth and Minor Streets in Philadelphia. During the British occupation of the city, the brewery was seized and used as a barracks.

In 1786 Henry Pepper purchased Potts’ brewery and operated it quite successfully. His wealth and philanthropy were demonstrated when he provided the clock and bell in the tower of Independence Hall. Upon his death in 1898 he donated large sums of money to many charitable and cultural institutions of the city. His son George headed the brewery and directed it successfully before leasing the establishment to Robert Smith.

In 1837 Smith came to America after having served an apprenticeship with the Bass Brewery in Burton-on-Trent, England. He began brewing on St. John Street near the Delaware River. He became acquainted with Pepper and Sickel and in 1845 purchased their brewery.

The Robert Smith India Pale Ale Brewing Company was incorporated in 1887 and moved to a new plant at 38th and Girard (right across the Schuylkill River from “Brewerytown”). It operated until Prohibition as the oldest brewery in continuous operation in America. In 1891 Robert Smith was described as a “hale and hearty” 84-year-old who was still running the brewery. He died two years later and the business was reorganized as the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Co. owned by Schmidt’s Brewery of Philadelphia. The Smith brewery produced mainly ales and stouts. Production figures for the turn of the century are: 1902: 53,521 bbl.; 1905: 61,910 bbl.; 1907: 64,400 bbl. Brands included Tiger Head Ale, XXX Stout, Porter, IPA, Old Mystery, Imperial Burton and English Pale.

The twelve prints show up from time to time on eBay, antiques auctions, collectibles websites and even on Amazon. They’re also in the collection of the Library of Congress.

In addition to the posters, they also created a short book — more or a pamphlet at 37 pages — with information about the brewery and each of the twelve images.


Here’s the book’s introduction:


Below are all twelve illustrations. In each case, I used the biggest and best image I could find. Below each print I’ve added the text from the book, and it appears that some editions of the posters may have even included that text just below each print.

The Falstaff Inn


Penny Pot Tavern and Landing


Indian Queen Hotel


Spread Eagle Inn Inn


State House Tavern


The Three Crowns


Drawbridge and Blue Anchor Inn


London Coffee House


City Tavern


Black Horse Inn Yard


Smith’s 1774 Brewery


Moon and Seven Stars


And here’s the final page of text from the 1909 book.


Patent No. 2477222A: Beer Dispenser With Coil Cleaning Means

Today in 1949, US Patent 2477222 A was issued, an invention of Frederick J. Warcup, for his “Beer Dispenser with Coil Cleaning Means.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to beer distributing systems such as are used in taverns and saloons for conducting beer from kegs, in which the beer is delivered from the brewery, to taps located behind the bar. The length of piping between a keg and the tap includes a cooling coil through which the beer flows.

One object of the invention is to provide an improved beer distributing system in which water can be conveniently introduced into the beer lines and accurately controlled so as to avoid the loss of beer that results from having beer stand in the pipes, from draining of the lines for cleaning, and the loss that occurs when an empty keg is replaced with a full one.

It is another object of this invention to provide means by which tavern operators can clean their own lines without having to connect or disconnect any unions or fittings, and in the preferred embodiment of the invention the system is constructed so that the beer lines can be cleaned without even leaving the bar. The tavern operator can fill his beer lines with water preparatory to cleaning them and all of the usual loss of beer incident to cleaning line is avoided.

Another important saving is effected by this invention when a keg becomes empty and it is necessary to tap a new keg. Whenever the contents of one keg become exhausted, the beer line fills with foam and the first beer from a new keg surges into the line and foams to such an extent that the first glasses drawn after a new keg has been tapped cannot be used because of excessive foam. With this invention the line is filled with water before tapping a new keg and there is no surge of beer into the line.


Beer Birthday: Fergus Carey

Today is the 52nd birthday of Fergus Carey, better known simply as Fergie. Fergie owns Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is co-owner of Monk’s Cafe with Tom Peters and is also a partner in Nodding Head Brewery. Fergie’s always a fun person to have around and he’s as kind as soul as ever I’ve met in the beer world. Join me in wishing Fergie a very happy birthday.

Fergie huddling up with Tom Dalldorf and his Monk’s Cafe partner Tom Peters at 2st Amendment in San Francisco.

Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie Carey and Armand Debelder
Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie and Armand Debelder at a Lambic Beer Dinner last month at Mon’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week.

Outside Monk’s cafe: Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, after the Canned Beer Dinner in 2007.