Mitchells & Butlers Ltd, Cape Hill Brewery

A brewery historian and breweriana collector has emailed me to ask for a few points of clarification on M&B beer bottle labels. I have replied to say that asking questions on this site does not have a history of success, but we will try. He is not primarily a label collector, but a small collection has recently come into his possession and he believes these are the dates but would like confirmation. Oval labels with the measure disclaimer 1920s and 1930s. One is shown below. Oval labels with appointment to the King are George V., late 1930s. Oval labels with George VI are 1940s, oval labels with appointment to the late king are 1952/3. The comes rectangular labels. Mitchells & Butlers curved across the top followed immediately after the last ovals, then very quickly a small M&B. In the 1960s the M&B was enlarged and around 1964/5 the deer’s leap was dropped leaving a small deer above the name of the beer, although there was no room for it above the Sam Brown.

And one last thing. All the oval labels in the collection were the same size except two which are a little bit smaller. Both these two were beers bottled by A. Probyn of London. Are there smaller labels in existence with no named bottler? And where do they fit into the timeline.


  • Martin

    Why don’t you put pictures of the labels you describe in this article so we know what your talking about.

  • John L

    I’m not sure I can add anything to the suggested dates, but a couple of points on the late labels (presumably the last pre-Bass Charrington examples) may be worth making: Black Satin Sweet Stout lacked the deer as well as Sam Brown; Cape Ale became Cape Light Ale (apparently with the change to minimum contents); and there were three variants of lettering on the bottom of these labels (Mitchells & Butlers Ltd with “Brewed at Birmingham” underneath, as in the previous series; just Mitchells & Butlers Ltd; and Mitchells & Butlers Ltd with minimum contents underneath).

  • Peter D

    I believe the answer to the question of other smaller labels is no. Probyn seems to be the bottler who gets the small labels. I believe them to be immediately post-war.

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