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Pre-Prohibition Wooden Beer Keg/Barrel

What a great site! I was thrilled to find a place where I may be able to get at least some idea of what an item might be worth. Thank you!

I have had this keg for quite a while and have always considered it one of the "coolest" pieces I have. Every once in a while, I begin an online search just to see if there might be some new information and, over time, I've learned quite a bit about the history of Bowler Brothers Limited (Brewery) out of Worcester, MA.

The Bowler brothers (John & Alexander) came over from England in the 1850's, their father and grandfather were brewers, and they brought their knowledge of brewing to the US, eventually starting their own Brewery in 1883.

With the help of a savy local saloon keeper (H.K. Sparrell) who became their Vice President and Sales Manager, Bowler Brothers Ales became very popular throughout New England, the most "famous" being Tadcaster Ale.

Bowler Bros. were early adopters of bottled beer with the advent of the capping of carbonated beverages in bottles in 1892. By 1918, the passage of the Volstead Act, Bowler Bros. was one of the largest breweries in New England, based in a city that boasted no less than seven breweries at the time. When the brewery was closed due to Prohibition, the brothers were old and rich and, gave up on the idea of ever reopening. An attempt was made to open the brewery with the Bowler name in 1934 but the business closed less than a year later in 1935.

My apologies if that was too much information but, I do try to be thorough! Wink

Now, the keg itself measures approximately 19 1/2" tall x 13" at the ends and is very solid (and heavy!) It has what I believe is the original wooden bung plug and original hardware (hoops, nails.) What it doesn't have, is the large, steel, quick-connect for the beer taps patented in 1904...which leads me to believe the keg is not only pre-prohibition but, also from the late 1800's...a true antique keg that was delivered by horse drawn wagon in the earliest days of Bowler Brothers Limited.

I have all that information but no idea what it might be worth...if anything. Any help or additional information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!!


Very thick dark oak.
Distinguishing marks: 
Top and bottom lids with deep branding - Bowler Brothers Limited Worcester MASS Registered
Date Period: 
1880's - 1890's
Size and dimensions of this item: 
19 1/2" tall x 13" at both ends
Read main message! All there!
For Sale?: 


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