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Very Old Large Detroit beer tray: Champion Brewery - $85 (west of Ann Arbor)

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condition: fair
make / manufacturer: Champion Brewery
model name / number: Pre-Prohibition
size / dimensions: 16 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches

In 1865, Frank Schmidt and Peter Keiser started Champion Brewery. It produced quite a bit of beer in Detroit during the turn of the 19th century. The brewery was located in a five story structure along Wilkins Street north of Eastern Market.The brewery only lasted 24 years, closing in 1919 during Prohibition.

As you can see from the photos, this pre-Prohibition beer tray is large, measuring 16 1/2 x 13 1/2. Even though the tray has quite a few rust spots, the artwork is very neat. The woman’s face is classical, and the borders are very cool.

On the upper left border, about at 11 o’clock, is a beautiful young woman in the midst of flowers and a vine. On the right hand border, at about 3 o’clock, is is a winged cherubim among the flowers. Finally, at the bottom border of the tray, at about 7 o’clock, are two cherubims among the flowers. The border, in itself, is a great piece of early 1900s artwork.

Some of the info on tray is interesting as well. To the left of the “Champion Brewery” script is the Champion Brewery logo, with a large K (representing one co-owner, Kaiser) and a large S (representing co-owner, Schmidt) intertwining the K. Also, below the two letters is a “&” symbol, connecting the two names. It’s a pretty simple and neat logo.

Also, below the Champion Brewery script is printed “KAISER & SCHMIDT, PROP.”

Near the bottom of the tray is printed “EXTRA BREWED FOR BOTTLES.” Below that statement is the address and three-digit phone number “CI (City) 643,” followed by “DETROIT, MICH.”

I’ve seen quite a few beer trays from Detroit pre-Prohibition days, but I’ve never seen a tray (or even a bottle) from this brewery. I realize there’s rust on it, but this is a very, very rare piece of Detroit brewing history.
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