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Welcome to the Antarctic Beer Can Documentation Project


About the ABCD Project
Vintage beer can archaology can help us to answer questions about the people who drank from the cans. Depending on the brand and label design, brewery, construction of the can, patent information, seam construction, can company marks and type of top it has, we can tell when and where the can was manufactured. Antarctica is a good place to look for vintage beer cans. The climate is such that oxidation is minimal or suspended altogether, thereby preserving cans which would be destroyed by rust and humidity in warmer climates. International research stations have been operating on the continent of Antarctica and expeditions have been visiting there well before the first beer cans were produced in 1935. After that date, it made sense that visitors to Antarctica brought canned beer with them, often from their home country. Cans travelled better than bottles, took up less space and were considerably lighter. A wide variety of countries are represented in the research stations of Antarctica, ensuring that a diverse selection of beer cans would be left behind for us to study and enjoy.

The purpose of the ABCD Project is:

(1) To document, date and preserve as many beer brands and can label designs as possible, with respect to cans that were shipped to various sites in Antarctica and surrounding regions from 1935 to the present.

(2) To make this information available to students of Antarctic history as well as breweriana enthusiasts and brewery historians.

(3) To aid in the cleanup and restoration of derelict Antarctic sites by removing the beer cans from Antarctic garbage dumps.

Below are a few examples out of the many interesting cans which may be found in Antarctica:
This Lion 12 ounce flat top can was found by a tourist on Elephant Island in 1980. It is one of only two examples known to exist.

Lion Ale Bier, circa 1958, Brewed and filled by Ohlsson's Cape Breweries Ltd., South Africa.

This Felinfoel 9 2/3 ounce cone top can is recognized as the first beer can manufactured outside of the United States. Text on the back side of the can reads:

"BEER AT ITS BEST - FROM A CAN

Canned beer is better because the goodness is sealed in and the flavour preserved. It is also protected from the harmful effect of light. Unbreakable. Lighter to carry. Takes up less space. No deposits; no returns. More hygenic - used only once.

This beer will remain brilliant and in good condition for the customary period."

Felinfoel Pale Ale, circa 1936, Canned at the brewery, Llanelly, Wales.

It is known that Tennent's Brewery of Scotland shipped beer to Antarctica. Tennent's is best known for it's innovative designs including the Scottish and English Series (1959-'62), Housewives Choice, featuring recipes using Tennents Beer in the ingredients (1960-'65), Ann's Day (1963), Ann on Vacation (1964), and Lager Lovelies (1964-'65). This 12 ounce flat top can dates to 1958. Tennent's Wellpark Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland.
This Jeffrey's 9 2/3 ounce cone top can is an early example from Scotland.

Jeffrey's Padlock Brand India Pale Ale, circa 1938. Brewed and canned by John Jeffrey & Co. Ltd. Edinburgh, Scotland.

This Bavarian Old Style 12 ounce flat top can was specially canned for Operation Deep Freeze.

Brewed and filled in New Zealand by New Zealand Breweries Limited, Auckland. Circa 1962-'64.

VOLUNTEER TO HELP! ABCD is looking for persons who are planning to visit Antarctica, who are now working in Antarctica, or have been in the past. Do you have any information which could help us to locate vintage beer cans, or do you have any examples of beer cans found in Antarctica or surrounding areas? If so, please contact Jeff Lebo at jefflebo@aol.com, call (USA) (717) 938-4332 or write to:

ABCD c/o Jeff Lebo

350 Roxberry Road

York Haven, PA USA 17370.