Reading Beer is back

September 21, 2007

Reading Light beer bottle

This is a phenomenon that I’m happy to see more and more: Long dead beer brands getting a new life.

The first time I saw this was a few years ago at the Michigan Brewing Company. I stopped to pick up a six (yes, you can buy a six pack in other states- can you imagine?) and saw brands from the Sebawang Brewery, a brand from the thumb area of Michigan which went out of business in the 1950s. The labels were perfect replicas of the originals so it really excited this nostalgic beer geek.

Another example of brand resurrection was done by the (ironically) now out of business Frankenmuth Brewery, also in Michigan. They brought back the “doggone good” label featuring a cute dachshund.

A more successful label that’s been revived is Acme out of California. Instead of slapping the label on a mild American pilsner, they actually put it on a great tasting pale ale and IPA, which has proven so successful that it’s distributed coast to coast and the IPA has been on tap at The Bishop’s Collar in Fairmount for years.

So this summer I wasn’t surprised but was damn happy to see the Reading Premium brand brought back to life by the Legacy Brewing Company. The company has duplicated the original bullseye design perfectly. So far it’s sold only in bottles and draft, the bottles being contract brewed by the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre. Let’s hope they put it in cans soon.

This actually isn’t the first time the Reading brand was reused: When the original brewery closed in ’76, it’s brands were bought by Schmidt’s, which was then bought by G. Heilman when IT closed in the 80s. G. Heilman was notorious for buying every brand that closed in the 80s and 90s, putting the same beer in every one of them, then selling to loyal old timers, hoping they wouldn’t notice the difference. When the old timers finally kicked and the brand quit selling, they’d kill it. Reading was ONE of easily 100 of these brands- off the top of my head I’ll list just a few from the Midwest alone: Bosch, Pfeiffer, Altes, Carling, Frankenmuth, Old Style, Blatz, Cooks, Schmidt, Drewrys…. it goes on and on.

So how’s it taste? Like a typical American light beer, but at $17.99 a case, who’s complaining?

Thanks to Dale Van Wieren from the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News for info.



  1. […] I mentioned more than once, I love to see this nostalgia movement in the industry. Pabst. Reading. Iron City. Acme. National Bohemian. Ortliebs. Frankenmuth (the last two now since […]

  2. […] one last thing- you may recall when I’ve written more than once about bringing old brands back from the dead, right? Mark talked of bringing back […]

  3. […] 16oz cans. Just another example of a resurrected beer brands. Speaking of which, what happened to Reading Beer […]

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