The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.

Beer Dates in Wisconsin

Oregon may have more breweries, but Wisconsin has better advertising. Several of America's mass market breweries (those would be the companies brewing the beer Europeans like to mock) are headquartered in Wisconsin. That means this page will actually be rather long, at least until Miller runs out of competitors to assimilate.

Beerworld has an even more complete list of breweries in Wisconsin.

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A. Gettelman Brewing Company
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Get a grip, Doctor Who. This brewery was bought out by Miller Brewing in 1961. If your beer can still says "A. Gettleman" it's no longer beer; it's an antique.

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G. Heilman Brewing Company
(La Crosse, Wisconsin)

Heilman was the fifth largest brewery in the United States (until Stroh bought them), responsible for a couple of dozen national brands, including Altes®, Crazy Horse malt liquor, Black Label®, Blatz, Champale®, Colt 45, Heilman, Kingsbury, Mickey's, Pfeiffer, Old Style, "Red, White & Blue", Schmidt's®, St. Ides, and Weinhard's. If you've never heard of a beer before, there's a good chance it was a Heilman brand.

Until late 1996, all Heilman brands had a nine-character production code -- two groups of four digits separated by a space. The first block is a Julian date, year trailing -- if your beer is dated before 0240, it's expired. Put it down.

From 1997 through 1999, the Heilman brands dropped the Heilman name and used the same dating scheme as Stroh Brewing (the first beers so numbered had March 1997 expiration dates). In early 2000, Stroh sold most of the Heilman brands to Pabst and Miller Brewing, who both use a MMDDY dating scheme.

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

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Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Even though the boxes say it's "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous" Schiltz is now headquartered in Texas because Pabst owns the brand. (Schiltz was actually in Detroit from 1982 to 1999, because they were owned by the Stroh Brewing Company.)

Schlitz beers used Stroh Brewing expiration dates from 1982 to 1999, then switched to Pabst's dating system in early 2000. All Schiltz sold since 1998 should be using an MMDDY expiration date, so beers dated before 01240 are past date. Any other code format indicates a hopelessly past-date beer.

Schlitz's manufacturer number is 52300.

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The Leinenkugel Brewery
(Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin)

Although it's still run by the Leinenkugel family, the Leinenkugel Brewery is a subsidiary of Miller Brewing, and uses an MMDDYY expiration date based on the Miller expiration codes and Miller's manufacturer number, 34100.

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Mickey's Brewing Company
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Is there really a company that does nothing but sell malt liquor in green widemouth bottles? Nope. Mickey's Brewing is a front for Miller Brewing, who have owned the Mickey's brand since purchasing it from Stroh in 2000. Mickey's Malt Liquors currently use Millers MMDDY format.

(Mickey's beers before 1996 used the Heilman date format. Mikey's bottled from 1997 to 1999 use Stroh's dating scheme.

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Miller Brewing Company
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

The big brewery in Wisconsin, brewer of many brands (Hamm's, Henry Weinhard's, Icehouse™, Leinenkugel®, Löwenbräu, Magnum®, Meister Bräu®, Miller®, Milwaukee's Best®, Northstone™, Olde English, Red Dog™, Sharp's®, Skyy Blue malt beverage, and, Southpaw™) place a two-line production code on all packaging. The first five digits of the first line are an expiration date in MMDDY format -- beer dated before 01240 is past date. Remember that. It's important, because two other breweries on this page are subsidiaries of Milller.

Miller's manufacturer number is 34100. More details about Miller product dates are available on a separate page.

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Pabst Brewing Company
(La Crosse, Wisconsin)

Pabst moved to Texas!

Plank Road Brewery
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Entry updated 31 October 1999. "Plank Road Brewery" is the original name of the Miller Brewery, dredged up from the depths of history to brew four brands (Icehouse, Northstone, Red Dog, and Southpaw) so people will think they're buying beer from a microbrewery. Yeah, whatever.

Until mid-1996, Plank Road was using Miller's regular dating code on boxes and cartons, but not on bottles or cans. It currently uses Miller's dating scheme on all its products, but bottles still have a second code stamped on their bottoms. Plank Road also uses Miller's manufactuer number, 34100.

A True Story: On 30 October 1999, I asked a bar waitress if the bar in question carried Red Dog, and she answered "I think we might still have that." Such answers are never a good sign: If the barmaid doesn't know, it means the bar doesn't sell it often, and if the bar doesn't sell a beer often enough, they don't order it often enough. The waitress brought me beer dated 05097! Of course, I drank it in the name of science, and can safely say that 2-year old Red Dog (a beer I rather like when it's fresh) is a beer greatly lacking in character. (And then I had to drink another one, because a woman at the bar sent one to my table. I can't win even when I'm winning, you know?)

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Sprecher™ Brewery Company, Inc.
(Glendale, Wisconsin)

Entry added 14 August 1998. Sprecher prints a bottling date on the bottle, with the legend "Best if consumed within 90 days" on the label.

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Telluride Beer Company
(Monroe, Wisconsin)

Telluride Beer bottles have a seven-character production code (e.g. 3215 09). The first four digits appear to be a Julian date, year trailing. I'm not sure if that's a shipping date or expiration date, though. (Hey, I've seen one bottle of Telluride, okay?) 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. "Miller High Life", and the phrase "cold-filtered" are trademarks of the Miller Brewing Company. "Magnum", "Meister Bräu" "Miller", and "Milwaukee's Best", are registered trademarks of the Miller Brewing Company. "Hamm's" and "Pabst" are registered trademarks of the Pabst Brewing Company. "Icehouse", "Northstone", "Red Dog", and "Southpaw" are trademarks of The Plank Road Brewery. © Michael Bauser