Friday, December 18, 2009

The bitters market was quite competitive, the papers were full of advertisements for such products as Rosenbaum's, Renz's, Henley's, Cassin's & Lacour's bitters; yet when the collectors are avidly seeking examples of these bottles through various means, few seem to be found with any real regularity. With thousands of examples being distributed through drugstores, saloons, wholesale & retail liquor merchants; why hasn't more examples been unearthed?

A reason might be a crowded market for these products. Although most collectors covet the embossed in glass named bitters containers made during the 1860's & '70's period there were in fact many other bitters products competiting for a share of this market. In fact the above three bitters advertisements were quite prevalent among the major newspapers of the late '60's and '70's and probably accounted for a great deal of sales. Many of these containers were and are being dug by collectors without knowing it, since these products were put up in labeled only bottles for much of their sales period.

The exact number of western marketed bitters products are not known at present, there are approximately 100 variations of embossed in glass bitters containers, with another 58 or so known in paper labeled form only. In my research to write a more precise, accurate and comprehensive story on some of these bitters; I've also uncovered some new never before listed bitters marketed in California, such as Manzanita Bitters, Democratic Bitters & California Buck Bitters.

So when your digging and you unearth a round or a square unembossed fifth or sixth size bottle, you may indeed have dug yourself a bitters!


  1. I believe the Prussian Bitters is embossed as such. I have one around here somewhere. Amber, and with a tooled top. Pretty tough one to come by.

  2. Miller's Extra,

    Yes, both the Prussian and Hufelands did eventually market an embossed bottle, but almost 30 years or more later.

  3. Putzman was also in business with a Dunker from 1884-85 only. They put out an early fat pint pumpkinseed "Melrose Bourbon Putzman & Dunker San Francsico". I dug one back in '81, and havent seen another one since.