Friday, 19 September 2008

Sicks Brewery Bottle?

Lethbridge Sick's Brewery, view of the beer bottle assembly line.
Courtesy Galt Museum Archives. P19752209038.

We recently received an inquiry from a volunteer at a provincial institution:

I have a bottle I am having trouble identifying. It is green, held 10 ounces of beer (I assume) and looks more like a soda pop bottle than a beer bottle. It has Lethbridge printed on one side. The other side is the number 6, with the word Sicks over the six. The molding seam goes from he bottom up through the lip of the bottle. The lower part has vertical ribs. Have you seen anything like this, or do you know where I can do further research?

Our Collections Technician, Kevin MacLean, composed the following in response:

The Lethbridge Sicks "6" Brewery began its soft drink line in the early 1900s, producing under the Orange Crush franchise and its own Lethbridge label. The line helped sustain the brewery through periods of prohibition and bans on advertising alcoholic beverages. In 1965, soft drink operations were sold to 7-Up Lethbridge Bottling Limited. Jack Lakie, Brewery General Manager, stated that the sale was made in order to focus the plant's production on making beer, which had always been the Brewery's main interest.

The sale, however, was was more likely the result of the government's discontinuation of a ban on the advertisement of alcohol. Sicks' ginger ale subtly promoted the Brewery's Lethbridge Beer label in a marketing strategy known as shadow advertising. The Lethbridge Dry Ginger Ale logo was almost identical to that of Lethbridge Beer, thus, advancing the sale of beer through the advertisement of pop. The last bottle of Lethbridge Ginger Ale was produced on 24 February, 1966 at 11:30am.

The bottle’s age dates to the 1950s or 60s – no later than 1966. The Brewery was in operation from 1901 to 1990. Molsons Brewery bought the Brewery from the Sick family in 1959.

Do you have an object you have questions about? Post it here, and we will do our best to answer!



  1. who provided sicks with the bottles during the early 1900's?

  2. Thanks for contacting us with your interesting question.

    The Galt is not in possession of any resources (human or material) that can provide an answer as to where the turn-of-the-century bottles were sourced from. Persons who were involved in such work are long deceased (If they were aged 15 in 1910 they would be over 110 years old today) and no records of such transactions exist here at the Galt.

    Our Archivist has only one recommendation that may yield results albeit it is a long shot. He suggests that you could contact Molsons' Brewery head office and pose the same question to them. Molsons acquired Sicks' Brewery in 1959 and the company may maintain a corporate archives. If so, they may be in possession of records which note where the bottles were acquired from.

    Good luck,

  3. I have a beer keg with the logo "Sicks Seattle Brewery" on the top, dated in the 1940's. Is anyone aware of a collectors group who might be interested? It is a 40 gallon keg. Best Wishes, Tim Wittman

  4. I have a metal cooler with the words "Lethbridge dry ginger ale" on the side of it ,used for picnics and what not im sure ..i was just wondering if it was rare or not...

  5. Hi Anonymous

    Your cooler is not entirely “rare”, but I would not say it is overly common either. Over my years here at the Galt, I have seen multiple examples in local antique stores as well as posted on eBay. The white bodied ones do seem to be more common than the cream coloured examples. I’m not sure which colour you have.

    Items such as this cooler (c. 1950s-1966) were used in a “shadow advertising” campaign in which the familiar Lethbridge Beer logo was evolved into the near identical Lethbridge Dry Ginger Ale logo. The sale of soft drinks, therefore, subtly advertised the Sick’s company’s beer during a time when there was a ban on advertising alcohol.

    Hope that helps, Kevin

  6. We are having our bathroom renovated and the fellas found two "6 Sick's" bottle caps under the tub which was originally installed in 1956. I can imagine two guys sitting having a cool beer at the end of the day, back in the day! (Unless they are pop caps. These have a cork lining and a shiny silver disc).

  7. Hello,
    I have 4 sick's lethbridge brewery steel kegs would these hold any value?

  8. Hi, The Galt holds five different kegs as part of its Sicks/Molsons brewery collection. They represent an evolution of technology and beer production within the industry during the 20th century.

    Unfortunately, policy does not allow me to comment on any object’s respective value; however, I can say there is great, great demand for “breweriana”. If I was in your position, I would search completed auction sales or market sales of similar or identical items on the internet to establish the kegs’ market values.

    Good luck, Kevin

  9. I found an old lighted SICKS' SELECT lighted sign a little over 15 inches in diameter in the shape of a bottle top! Were many of these made? when were they made?

    1. Off the top of my head, I’m 99.9% sure that the “Select” brand was not made in Lethbridge, but in one (or more) of the Sicks’ western Canadian or US breweries. Sicks’ breweries across western Canada and the US produced brands of beers that were unique to their respective breweries.

      I found a “Select” label for the beer in our Archives -

      According to that label, Sicks’ Select was made in Seattle. If you can check, you may find that the sign was made in the US. If this is the case, I would suggest that you do one or both of the following:

      • Determine/contact the dominant human history museum in Seattle, sending them an email about the sign, attaching a photo. I recommend you ask said museum officials about the sign’s dates of manufacture and proliferation. They may be able to comment on the years of the “Select” brand’s production.
      • Determine if a corporate archives for the Ranier Brewery exists and, if so, send them the same email content as recommended above.

      If you have an interesting story about how a suspected US Sick’s product’s sign came to exist in Lethbridge, I would be happy to learn more.

      I hope I have been of help.



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