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Spot The Difference #111; Fremlin’s or Fremlins’ or Fremlins

Thanks to Nick, who was the only member of the society to notice that there had been no additions to the labels on the site since June. This has been waiting to be posted for a while; is there a chance that anybody will have an explanation of the differences between these Dinner Stout labels, all from the 1920s I guess.

4 Responses to Spot The Difference #111; Fremlin’s or Fremlins’ or Fremlins

  • During the 1920s there were three different companies – Fremlin Brothers to 1920 when Fremlin Brothers Ltd was formed, then Fremlins Ltd from 1926 onwards. Perhaps the apostrophe, or lack thereof, reflects these changes. I would suggest that the earliest label is on the right and is probably 1920-26, the middle label would then be post 1926 with the label on the left just a later simplification.

  • This is very interesting. When I was first involved in brewery history, many people were convinced that the change from African to Indian elephant on advertising material, including bottle labels was because the company had become Fremlins Ltd rather than Fremlin Brothers.

  • Rather puts the boot into the theory that the Fremlin Brothers’ pre-Leney merger elephant had an inward curled trunk!
    It could be argued that the s’ = Fremlin Brothers and the ‘s = the later incorporated entity.
    In the absence (?) of dated labels (eg from the printers’ records) I guess we’ll never know for sure.

  • From my examination of labels in my collection, the vast majority of Fremlin Brothers labels show the name of the brewery as Fremlin’s, but there are exceptions. An early No 3 Maidstone Pale Ale bottled by Gates of Guildford has Fremlins’.

    Labels from about 1940 to the end of the life of the brewery have no apostrophe at all but there is an exception – English Stock Bitter Ale prior to 1953 has Fremlin’s!

    I think the differences are more likely to be the work of individual printers and the lack of uniformity in ordering labels, rather than any change of company name.

    In addition to the three labels shown there is another of the same size and colours but with the words “Brewery, Maidstone, Kent, England. Established 1861.” inside the top arc, just above the elephant. There are also smaller versions of this labels (3 different).

    I intend to submit a further mystery surrounding Fremlins English Ale very shortly.

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