MEMORY LANE – In 1940, postcards were sent to neighbors around West Bend announcing, “On Wednesday, December 11, 1940, The Famous Lithia Xmas Brew will be ready for distribution. Best ever — try it — you will like it.”
Different labels were designed for the seasonal beer. One paper label featured a green wreath with holly berries and red bow. Inside the wreath was the familiar Lithia logo, underlined by the words “Christmas Beer” in thick German script. Other designs featured the words “Holiday Brew” above a profile of Santa, who was bordered by pine branches.
There was the red label special dark Christmas beer and the well known Xmas label with six bearded elves each working to stoke the fire under the vat of beer, or pour hops, stir the mix, tap a pint and test the product.
Lithia’s Christmas beer was available nearly all year long. You could only buy Christmas beer in bottles and you needed an opener to get the cap off. The beer didn’t come in cans and it wasn’t on tap.
Lithia’s Christmas beer was sold by the case at liquor stores and at taverns within the West Bend area. Berres Liquor Mart, Triangle Beverage Mart, The Oasis bar (by Gehl Company); Pat’s Tavern (owned by Pat Pault), Kuhn’s Liquor, Palashes Liquor and Janz Liquormart in Barton were just some of the local distributors.
Photo courtesy Terry Becker