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Armchair Caving for the Alcoholic

by Tony Jarratt

The Editor's request in the last BB for more cave theme beer labels inspired me to delve into my collection of "speleobooze" ephemera - both subjects being dear to my heart. I came up with the following and I know that there is a vast amount more available worldwide.  Serious students should consult the pages of the Belgian published bulletin Collections (now defunct).  To keep in with the current interests of some members I have included mines as well as caves.

Beer - Cans and Labels

Canned Anchor Beer, Archipelago Brewery Co., Malaysia.  The can bears a tourism logo (Mystic Sarawak) including a tiny picture of a cave scene and the words "The Sarawak Chamber, Mulu National Park".

Liquan Beer, Guilin Brewery, China. The label has a coloured photo of Elephant Trunk Cave, Guilin.

Belfry Brew.  The blue and gold label commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the BEC and sports a gold "Bertie Bat" .

Rescue Ale (Morland's Old Speckled Hen).  The label has a Balch drawing of Eastwater boulder ruckle to celebrate the British Cave Rescue Council Conference, Priddy, 9-10 July 1994.

Association of Bottled Beer Collectors, August 1989, Hunter's Lodge Inn, Priddy.  The back label bears an old engraving (c.1750) entitled "A View ofOkey Hole".  (This society was run by the writer's brother, Dave Jarratt and the above two label designs were suggested by the writer. Barrie Wilton produced the end results).

Le Casque (The Helmet).  Biere artisanale naturelle. Brasserie La Binchoise, Binch, Belgique. The label has a blue caving helmet and Petzl carbide unit.

Krugman, Attendorner, Hohlentropfchen. Sauerland.  The label bears a small coloured photo of a grotto - presumably in a show cave.

Canned John Davey's Cornish Ale, Redruth Brewery, Cornwall. Carries two small, identical logos of a Cornish engine house.

Shakemantle, Freeminer Brewery, Forest of Dean.  Label has a drawing of an iron miner.  The beer is named after the deepest iron mine in the Forest.

Freeminer Bitter, ditto. Label shows the famous mediaeval Forest iron miner logo.

Deep Shaft Stout, ditto.                                    ditto.

Slaughter Porter, ditto.  (I have no label for this beer - named after Slaughter Stream Cave - as the name was changed soon after due to its unfortunate appearance at the same time as the infamous Fred West murders!) It is now back on draught with the original name.  Freeminer Brewery produces other mine inspired tipples - see the Good Beer Guide 2000, p.472 for more details.

Pick Axe Pale Ale, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, Colorado. The main label of this American micro-brew shows a working gold miner (or a "Tommyknocker" - a fairy miner) and the neck label sports a miner enjoying his ale!

Beer - beermats

Jenolan Caves Resort, New South Wales, Australia. Shows a stalagmite and stalactite, the Cave Hotel and visitors admiring parakeets.

Miners Arms Brewery, Own Ale, Brewed in Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset. Has a drawing of a miner's safety lamp similar to the model lamp hanging on the end wall of the (now defunct) Miners' Arms restaurant, Priddy - original home of this (also now defunct) brewery.

Tinners Ale, St. Austell Brewery, Cornwall.  Two different beermats bearing drawings of Cornish engine houses.

Beer - beer cooler

Shades of Death Cave, Murrindal, Buchan, Victoria, Australia. A neoprene "tube" cooler with a bat logo.  (Essential Australian caving equipment!).

Whiskey - label

Mammoth Cave Brand. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Stitzel-Weller Distillery, KY. This 1940s label has a superb coloured drawing of the cave entrance.

Wine - labels, bottle and cork

Clamouse 1987 Shows a b/w photo of this fantastically decorated show cave.

Clamouse 1993, Two labels bearing coloured photos of different scenes in this cave

Cotes du Vivarais, Orgnac, The label bears a coloured photo of the immense stalagmites in this famous show cave.

Cotes du Vivarais, Orgnac, Cuvee de la Speleologie Robert de Joly.  A 1.5 litre bottle with coloured, stencilled wording and a b/w photo of the stalagmites on the reverse.

Cuvee du Centenaire de la Speleologie 1988.  Shows a drawing of two cavers on one SRT rope!

12eme Congres international de speleologie 1997 La Chaux-de-Fonds.  The label design appears to show an antique statuette of two men enjoying their wine. Helmets, lamps and a bat have been drawn on for effect!

Cuvee des Grottes, The main label shows a scene in the Grottes d'Arcy-sur-Cure show cave ( Bourgogne) and the neck label has a small drawing of a cave guide with an instruction to "follow him".

Vin du Pays du Caverne, Perigord. The label shows stylized prehistoric cave paintings.

Chateau de Lascaux.  A stylized Lascaux horse is shown on both the label and cork.

Equus.  The label shows a stylized horse cave painting.  (Available from Tesco!).

Grotte du Grand Roc.  Shows a photo of helictites in this show cave at Les Eyzies, Perigord.

Cuvee des Grottes Petrifiantes.  Bears a photo of the show cave (ancient underground stone quarry?) at Savonnieres.

Carlsbad Caverns.  The label has a very fine reproduction of a painting of formations in this immense New Mexican show cave.


Bisonte.  A Spanish brand with a coloured drawing of a bull cave painting from Altamira on the packet.

Zhijintiangong.  The packet has a coloured photo of a Chinese show cave scene.

and for the driver:-

Naktigone.  A very unpleasant Lithuanian soft drink with a "Bertie" type bat on the label!

Endless Caverns Premium Mountain Spring-Water, Shenandoah Valley, New Market, Virginia.  The label has a tiny drawing of a cave pool.


Well, that's enough of that - I'm off down the Pub!!!!!  Cheers,         J.Rat

ADDENDUM: It seems that B&T Brewery of Shefford, Beds., produce both "Black Bat" and "Old Bat" winter beers.  Plans are in hand to sample this brew.