Centlivre Beer Can Found!

 Earlier this summer a good friend of mine struck gold while digging along the shoreline of Hamilton Lake. In preparations of pouring a new sea wall he found buried in the mud for the last 77 years, a loan Centlivre Beer can, considered to be the “ Holy Grail” among Indiana beer can collectors.

 This can is so rare that even in this rough condition, it has a value of several hundred dollars. A can in excellent condition can fetch several thousand dollars, and collectors will pay upwards of $5000+ for a mint one.

 Somewhere in Fort Wayne, someone may have gold mine in their attic, or under the front porch, just waiting to be found. It was also common for workers to leave behind their empty beer cans in the walls and ceilings during home construction or later renovations. That new bathroom addition, added in the late 30s, may have a 6-pack of Centlivre Beer built into the walls; you do the math on its dollar value.


 So why are Centlivre beer cans so valuable?  ”supply and demand”

 After surviving Prohibition, the Centlivre Brewing Company was quick to fire up the bottling line producing their flagship “Centlivre Pale Dry Beer”. Sometime in 1936 a salesman for the American Can Co. came by the brewery promoting the benefits of his company’s new “Keglined” 12oz. beer cans. These cans had an inside coating that prevented them from tinting the flavor of the beer. Keglined cans were also more compact then bottles, lightweight, less expensive, and didn’t let in harmful light. Much to the pleasure of beer can collectors, Centlivre invested into this new idea, and started canning beer in 1937 becoming the first in northern Indiana to do so. Dating this is evident from the "75 year anniversary" reference on the can's side panel. The earliest known can was made in Chicago, and has a 1937 American Can Co. date code.

   Sales were slow at first for these new-fangled cans. Everyone had a bottle opener at home but no one had a can opener.

 Centlivre gave away openers and printed opening instructions on the side panel of the can, but sales were still very slow. Old Crown Ale would be added to the brewery's lineup in 1939 ending the short run on Centlivre Beer. Now anyone can brew beer, but only Mother Nature can create rust, and along with low production quantities make this can rarely found today.

 Read the full article of the Centlivre Brewery HERE

By Jeff Johnson  

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