Give a cheer for Ginger Beer!

Returning to the theme of old (antique) bottles this week, and today it is ginger beer bottles! What is it about Ginger Beer that sounds exciting?

I’m looking at four stoneware bottles from the late Victorian period of slightly different dates.

All were found in a corner of the garden at our place. From the evidence of a few barrel hoops, much rusted, we guess they were put into a barrel for returning to the seller at some time, but it never happened and the barrel (sited behind what had been a small barn – and is now only a garden wall) got covered up and rotted away, so that when we were clearing the garden we found quite a number of these old bottles in the same area. Many were chipped or broken but an example of each we keep on show as part of the house history.

The earliest one appears to be this Dubbin’s as the name of the producer of this drink has had his name impressed into the damp clay.  We can see that  W. DUBBIN was a business in DEVONPORT (1882- 1916 which is now firmly part of Plymouth but at the time was still slightly apart. The bottle, as are the others, is made of stoneware and has a simple low-shine glaze all over, cream on the inside, brown on the out. (some stoneware bottles at this time glazed only the lip to shoulder outside) The base is unglazed.

One of the other bottles is also from DUBBIN’s – but by now they have really moved upmarket and their bottle is nicely trade-marked and tells you more about the contents.

The next bottle is from BRACHER’S of Plymouth (1897 or earlier  – 1914) with a very clear name and design glazed on the bottle.Cream glaze for the body of the bottle with a darker honey colour from shoulder to lip.

Our final stoneware bottle is from BISCOMBE’S of Plymouth (1850s – 1950s). By far the fanciest design on a very nice bottle, with ivory glaze inside and out.

I find it interesting that this simple drink had quite elaborate bottles to be sold in. They were, as I suggested, returnable for a small refund on them, and I for one am glad they never got round to returning these.

Thinking about this I realise I remember returning glass ‘fizzy pop’ bottles for the penny you got back on them at the shop (and promptly spent on halfpenny sweets) Something I hadn’t thought about for donkey’s years.

It is strange how memories can be triggered. Do you remember activities like this that were normal in your youth but just not done, not required or wanted today? And just why does ‘Ginger beer’ sound exciting??? Do share – I love to hear from you!

[For my FWT cheerleaders – same same this week {I knew a whole pound down in one week was too much at this stage!} so I’m all square and only one and a half pounds from my target!!



6 thoughts on “Give a cheer for Ginger Beer!

  1. Gosh, how lucky you are to have such lovely bottles to add to the history of your house. We have a couple of old beer bottles, for fun as husband used to brew, but they were bought at craft fair, so don’t have the resonance that yours do.

    I dreamed I was back at Port Eliot Fest last night, felt quite strange when I woke up in Liverpool!

    Still reading, just mostly don’t have the energy to comment. Best wishes from Aigburth.

  2. Hi Magggie, Thank you for such a lovely comment!
    Ah! To be back at Port Eliot and in the Summer too – I am sure these dark wet days make us all feel worse!
    wishing you all the best – Ann

  3. Hi Ann,
    Ginger beer, love it! Have you tried Crabbies Ginger Beer? It’s addictive and has a kick.
    Love those old bottles, they’re part of history aren’t they?

    I also remember returning fizzy drink bottles to the shop for a small fee. Gosh, that was decades ago…blimey!

    Great news re you being so close to your target weight. You’re a real inspiration as I really need to drop at least 2 dress sizes,
    and be more active. Bellydance classes are really helping.

    Take care.

  4. Hi Jen !
    I see your FB belly dance notices out there – it’s so great for flexibility and core strength isn’t it? And it is just the right exercise to do with my weight programme worked out for me by No3 son that’s helping me lose all that weight I had put on since menopause.

    My brother is addicted to Crabbies, so you must be right on that one too!

  5. Hi Ann
    Enjoyed reading about your ginger beer bottle collection – excellent. I, like you, found lots of bottles (not ginger beer) some in very good condition and one with its glass stopper. They are mainly medicine bottles, one amami wave setting lotion (!) all dumped by the farmer in what was originally the kitchen garden before our bungalow was built on the plot. Love reading your blogs.

  6. Hi Jean,
    Thank you for your comment! 🙂 Old bottles are interesting as a peek into the history of the everyday – and heaps of old bottles left in gardens, in themselves serve to remind us of a time when there were no refuse collections and the fact that these containers were amongst the few that did not rot away – unlike today!
    all the best – Ann

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