The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.

Beer Dates in Michigan

I was born and raised in Michigan, which would make one think I have a lot of experience with the local brands. Don't be silly -- we mostly drink Canadian beer here.

The MidWest Beer Guide contains other useful information about breweries in Michigan and other midwestern states.

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Atwater Block Brewery
(Detroit, Michigan)

Entry updated 1 May 2000. This microbrewery placed notched dates on the bottom edge of the front bottle label. The Atwater Block Brewery closed at the end of April 2000.

Bad Frog Brewing Company
(Rose City, Michigan)

If your bottles of Bad Frog Beer still mention the Frankenmuth Brewing Company on the label, they don't have date, but they're also very old (1997 or older). Bad Frog brewed at the Bad Frog Brewery has a product code stamped on the shoulder, but I haven't deciphered it yet.

Bad Frog's manufacturer number is 51399.

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Big Buck Brewery
(Gaylord, Michigan)

The Big Buck beers are the creation of the Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse. They appear to have a MMDDY date stamped in the lower left corner of the (front) bottle label, but I have no idea if that's a bottling date or an expiration date. Big Buck's manufacturer number is 10581.

Frankenmuth Brewing Company
(Frankenmuth, Michigan)

Entry updated 28 August 2003. Named for the town where Christmas never ends, Frankenmuth closed in 1997 (when the brewery was trashed by a tornado), but has recently (June 2003) reopened. Their current product line include the Frankenmuth and Old Detroit brands. (They also used to brew the often persecuted Bad Frog Beer under license.)

I've looked and I've looked, but I just can't find any date code on the Frankenmuth brands. Then again, I haven't seen a bottle of Frankenmuth since 1997.

Goebel Brewing Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

A subsidiary of the Stroh Brewery Company that used the Stroh expiration dates.

G. Heilman Brewing Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

Heilman was the last major acquisition of Stroh's. All Heilman beers have used the Stroh expiration date system since the beginning of 1997.

Heilman's brand portfolio includes a couple of dozen national brands, including Altes®, Black Label ®, Blatz®, Champale®, Colt 45, Heilman, Kingsbury, Lone Star, Mickey's®, Pfeiffer, Old Style, "Red, White & Blue", Schmidt's ®, and St. Ides. If you've never heard of a beer before, but your grandfather says he used to drink it all the time, there's a good chance it's a Heilman brand.

Heilman has several manufacturer numbers, including 71250, 72720, and 73360.

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Kalamazoo Brewing Company, Inc.
(Kalamazoo, Michigan)

Entry added 12 July 1998. Yes, there really is a town named Kalamazoo, and they brew Bell's ™ Ale there. The bottom edge of the label on bottles of Bell's have a production code that looks like this:

7012 81 14:00

I think the first four digits are a brewing date in YDDD format.

I don't know Kalamazoo Brewing's manufacturer number.

Joseph Schiltz Brewing Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

This one really confuses people. Schlitz packaging still reads "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous", but the address on the side of the can says "Detroit, Michigan". That's because Schiltz is a subsidiary of the Stroh Brewery Company. Of course, that means Schiltz packaging uses the Stroh Brewery Company production codes even though it has its own manufacturer number, 52300.

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Motor City Brewing Works
(Detroit, Michigan)

The microbrewery responsible for Motor City Beer does not appear to use any shipping or expiration dates on its beers. They don't even appear to have a manufacturer number. To hell with them anyway, I guess.

Old Detroit Brewing Company
(Frankenmuth, Michigan)

This is a front for the Frankenmuth Brewing Company, which means Old Detroit Beer doesn't have a product date. Old Detroit's manufacturer number is 25154.

F & M Schaefer Brewing Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

Another subsidiary of Stroh's, using the Stroh expiration codes.

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Stroh Brewery Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

Entry updated 10 May 1999. Stroh is the brewery that originally inspired, because they kept changing their dating scheme. Just when I had it all figured out, they sold its entire product portfolio to Miller and Pabst.

Fortunately, Miller and Pabst were using the same dating scheme, so this is easy: All Stroh beers produced after March 1998 have product numbers beginning with a MMDDY expiration date. (For information on Stroh beers before March 1998, a separate page explaining Stroh production codes in depth is available.)

Stroh had a varied and growing brand list (many still sold under the names of Stroh's subsidiaries) that currently includes Altes®, Augsburger, Black Label ®, Blatz ®, Champale®, Colt 45, Goebel® Heilman, Kingsbury, Lone Star, Mickey's, Pfeiffer, Old Milwaukee® Old Style, Red Bull, Red River, "Red, White & Blue", Schaefer, Schlitz®, Schmidt's®, Signature; Stroh's and St. Ides.

Stroh's manufacturer number is 72040.

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Two Dogs Beverage Company
(Detroit, Michigan)

Two Dog was yet another subsidiary of Stroh in disguise, dedicated to handling some licensed malt beverages. The Two Dog Beverages used Stroh Brewery Company production codes, but I don't know who makes the Two Dogs currently sold in the United States. is the independent consumer guide to beer product dating. It is not owned, operated, affiliated with, or endorsed by any brewery or brewing company. In other words, if you want to send e-mail to a beer company, don't send it to me. "Altes", "Black Label", "Champale", and "Schmidt's", are registered trademarks of The G. Heilman Brewing Company. "Goebel" "Old Milwaukee", "Schiltz", "Schiltz Ice", "Schiltz Ice Light" and "Stroh's", are registered trademarks of the Stroh Brewery Company. © Michael Bauser