International Society of Label Collectors & British Brewery Research
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Two things have prompted this post. First the comment from ‘Fascinated by beer labels’ yesterday. Who is this? And secondly a discussion with Des, the Society’s esteemed treasurer, during the excellent meeting yesterday at Sadler’s Brewery, Lye. This pair from Clarkson’s Old Brewery is almost a competition entry. See if you can spot the crucial difference.


Just added the Greenalls labels to featured brewery section. Two of them are here to highlight the addition. I believe that the label on the right was used on bottles destined for the North Wales market, hence the NW logo. I have no idea whether the beers were different. They could have been brewed in Chester from the takeover of the Northgate Brewery in 1949. The featured brewery section has the two versions of the Pale Ale.

Greenall W

I had several mails from collectors who were amazed by ‘Spot the difference #43’:

Apparently many were unaware that the second variation existed and have spent some time seeking it out. I couldn’t tell whether they were complaining or congratulating us. So here are two variants of the Nut Brown Ale. The second less common variation is different from the variations in the Light Dinner Ale. All of you who may have spent time fruitlessly looking for the missing variant of that label will be pleased to know that I look at every Brockbank label I can in case the two missing versions can be found.

Brockbank 2

With a few exceptions, labels from Hewitt Brothers can be obtained fairly cheaply. Most collectors are familiar with the change of trade mark and the different size of labels for pint and half pint bottles. However this pair may not be so well known. And I will ask the usual question: Are there similar differences for other beers? I don’t know of any others, perhaps there is someone out there who has the other pairs.


Seems possible that very few collectors are really interested in collecting these minor differences. There were several available tonight on a well-known internet auction site, with both variations listed and a lucky bidder picked up three or four for not much more than the postage cost.

I do know there is interest out there, one collector with a very extensive collection thanked me for publishing a pair of Southam’s SOS labels that he had not known about, and he picked up the missing variation very soon afterwards.

With regard to ‘Spot the difference’ #37; Massey’s Burnley Brewery, Keith has written in to tell us that ‘Masseys brewer and barrels trade mark registered 1885 and the owl trade mark registered in 1937. It’s possible owl was in use before 1937 but can’t say for sure.’

Many thanks for that. You can find the labels at

To keep you going here are two Wards No. 1 Strong Ale labels with a number of minor differences.

Ward Foxearth

Many thanks to Geoff for providing images of his entire collection of Amey’s labels. An extensive set which we are preparing you for, with this ‘Spot the difference’ trio. Another blog post tomorrow and the entire set will appear in our featured brewery section this weekend. Annoyingly, I don’t have any of these in my collection.

Amey spot the difference.bmp

Perhaps the most satisfying part of all this is the chance to add to the sum of knowledge about the labels that were issued 60 or 70 years ago. These two Norman and Pring labels are completely different designs and the one on the left is earlier than that on the right. No mention of Norman & Pring on either label. The right hand example is the same design as one of the two Oatmeal Stout labels from yesterday. The question is ‘Are there others in either of these two designs??’ And could we have scans if there are? And that means you!

Norman & Pring 3

A couple of responses to Tuesday’s Spot the difference. Followers are asking about the differences in Norman & Pring labels and whether they are similar to that in the blog. The small Imperial labels have only that difference as far as we know, but the pint labels have at least 3 variations. To show you what I mean, here are two pint Oatmeal Stout labels, 84mm tall this time.

Norman & pring 2

It has been a tough couple of weeks workwise, so apologies for the speed with which we are adding to the site. There are many variations of the labels from the City Brewery in Exeter. It would be good to try to catalogue them all at some time in the future, but in the meantime to whet your appetite, here are two half pint Imperial labels, 69mm tall. I remember studying the image of the label on the right to see exactly the difference(s) before I invested the £1 on a purchase.

Norman & Pring

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