Stone Ginger Bottle
Stoneware, hand thrown bottle
Date: c. early 1900s
Dimensions: 8” x 2” diameter
Location: Wally Turnbull Collection, Durham, NC, USA
Notes: The bottle bears the stamp "Ducham, Portobello, Edinburgh." The bottom of the bottle is stenciled Ducham 1787.
Ginger Beer originated in Scotland and England, in the mid 1700's and was brewed regionally for the local market. It was one of the most popular and longest surviving beverages from the early colonial days.
Naturally fermented Ginger Beer has an exquisite taste which could never be achieved by the carbonation process. Fermented ginger beer included fresh ginger root, fresh lemons and a special brewer's yeast. It was the favorite drink of England for over 150 years.
Ginger Beer was stored in stoneware bottles which were hand thrown by potters to each bottler's individualistic standards. The stoneware bottles were made with little more than the bottler's name, perhaps a city and sometimes a date hand stamped or stenciled into the glaze.
Stone ginger beer bottles faded in the 1920's, as buyers started questioning the natural sediments at the bottoms of the bottles and wanted their wares in glassware, and wanted it to look fresh and clean, not just to feel that way when they drank it! As well, refrigeration was becoming more the norm, and the benefit of stoneware for keeping liquids cool just wasn't so necessary anymore. And thus came the modern glass pop bottle.