Labology in Perspective

2022 marks the 64th anniversary of the Labologists Society, having been founded in 1958, making it one of the oldest beer-related collecting societies in the world.

Label collecting certainly pre-dates the formation of the Society by many years, there were collectors active in the early years of this century, and throughout both World Wars soldiers posted to camps miles from their home towns, or abroad, sometimes soaked the labels off bottles of the local brew as a mementos.

Initially, the “hobby” of Labology was developed as a public relations exercise to promote the worldwide availability of products from Guinness Exports, and the hobby was widely publicised and an office set up in London.

The International nature of the hobby was emphasized and among the stunts employed was the dropping of a large number of Guinness bottles in the Atlantic each containing a parchment greeting with a tear-off strip for the finder to reply. Rarely the odd reply still turns up!

However, it wasn’t until September 1958 Peter Dawson, with the help of Harold Horden and Colonel Fawcett of Guinness Exports, coined the term “Labology” and gave the impetus to set up the Society to unite label collectors around the world.

Eventually though, the Company’s interest waned and it was left to the members to take the Society forward, which they have successfully done over the last 64 years.

The resurgence of interest in traditional beer and brewing methods in the mid 1970s, largely through the efforts of the Campaign for Real Ale, gave added impetus to the Society and saw the emergence of other brewery history and breweriana collecting societies.

To some extent that has now died back possibly because older and rarer labels were not immediately available to new collectors, but we should remember that today’s labels are tomorrow’s collectibles. Don’t ignore what’s available now, for even the grandest collection has to start somewhere.

Over the last sixty four years the Society has run almost entirely due to the efforts of its enthusiastic members and it still does today.

For the Society to survive successfully, it needs the continued efforts of likeminded collectors.

Thus we welcome new members, either from the UK or overseas, to our Society.

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