Ruhstaller Brewery Serving Tray, Sacramento, CA. Circa 1905

The Ruhstaller Brewing Company in Sacramento, CA was a very well known and long time producing brewery, known for their prolific colorful advertising in the years before Prohibition went into effect in 1919.  In fact, collectors today can find many advertising collectibles from the Ruhstaller brewery and also from the Buffalo Brewery, which were both located in Sacramento during the pre-prohibition era.  The city of Sacramento was the largest brewing city in the western part of the United States before prohibition, and the Ruhstaller Brewery was part of that success.

I have always liked this tray and thought it had a lot of eye appeal due to the distinctive colors the piece was made with.   Most brewery advertising trays of the era typically had one product which was advertised on it, however, this particular serving tray has the names of three of their main brands, Lager, Gilt Edge, and Steam brands.    What’s unusual about this tray is the lack of a product in the scene.  Where’s the beer?   Where’s the glass or bottle?   I see a stein, but even it too looks more like a pancake syrup pitcher than a beer stein.  Perhaps it did not matter given the fact the brewery was so successful and had great name recognition already?.

One unique aspect of The Ruhstaller brewery is the fact they incorporated their large factory buildings and their entire complex on many of their other advertising items including trays and signs.    I am sure the brewery was very proud of their business, and if you pay attention, you will notice quite a few of the larger breweries in cities across the U.S. relied on the same advertising technique by incorporating their factories before prohibition.    These “factory scene” advertising pieces are amongst the more sought after advertising items from collectors today.

Today the Ruhstaller brewery has been revived again in the Sacramento area as a new microbrewery is now open at 630 K Street The rebirth of a legendary brewery name is becoming more common each and every day in the United States, especially with the successful introductions of craft beer brands.    It makes good business sense for a local brewer to revive an old formula or previously successful brand during todays brewing renaissance.

The next time you are in the Sacramento area stop by the Ruhstaller location and try one of their old family recipes.  You might just find you like it and those old brewers knew what they were doing!