Sep 27, 2006 Staff Writer Uncategorized
Dale Kupfer of Canastota has been collecting anything made from or for the West End Brewing Company better known as Utica Club for the past 26 years. Two favorite items in his collection are the “unlikely” pair of steins known as Schultz & Dooley.
According to Kupfer, Schultz, the larger of the two mugs, represents the German (Bavarian) heritage of beer, and Dooley represents the English and Irish aspect of beer. The pair of mugs were made in Germany from 1952 to 1972. Production was moved to Brazil in 1972. Other items were added including “Officer Suds” and “Farmer Magee.”
How the two became famous started in 1959 with an advertising firm out of New York City. The firm had an idea for commercials but no one would bite. Until, then vice president of advertising at WEBCO Frank Owens looked at the idea and like it. The company had a new advertising idea to sell its beer. And to help sell the product, comedian Johnathan Winters was the voices of Schultz & Dooley on the commercials. Production of Utica Club beer increased 50 percent that year.
Schultz & Dooley sold Utica Club beer until 1965. Come-back commercials were made in 1969 without Winters, which didn’t have the same quality, and the ads were retired for good in 1969.
The original salt and pepper shakers that sold for $9.95 in department stores are now worth as much as $1,500.
Kupfer has hundreds of WEBCO items including bottle caps, meticulously displayed like a coin collector, posters and coasters, statues, clocks, pot holders, steins, labels, trains, bottles and a whole lot of cans. He even has a pair of homemade sugar cookies in the shape of Schultz & Dooley, wrapped and displayed with all his breweriana. Kupfer has bottles corked with porcelain tops, bottles that look like old canning jars, Saranac’s Seasons Best holiday collection and a Dooley Styrofoam cooler. He also has a one-of-a-kind neon sign that lights up the words Utica Club.
“If it’s U.C., I’m looking,” Kupfer said.
He also said he’s the “unofficial quote un-quote expert at the brewery.”
Kupfer said it all started in 1980 when his brother-in-law did a lot of traveling for his job.
“He brought me back beer cans,” Kupfer said. “I toured the Utica Club brewery and got hooked.”
Kupfer could be a walking encyclopedia for WEBCO, which didn’t always call its beer Utica Club.
“Up until prohibition the company was called the West End Brewing Company,” Kupfer said. “They started making soda during prohibition and called it Utica Club. In 1934 they were one of the first companies to start making beer again. They stopped making the soda in 1942.”
Kupfer said he doesn’t brew his own beer, he just drinks it.
“Beers are brewed differently,” Kupfer said. “You’ve got dark beer like Black and Tan that is brewed with darker malt. We’ve got a lot of micro-breweries doing a lot of different beers,” Kupfer said. “There is this pumpkin ale, which is outstanding.”
Kupfer attends breweriana trade shows and recently returned from a national convention held in Kansas City. He belongs to a local club, the “Breweriana Collecting Club of America” out of Utica and they hold the “Beer Can Trade and Breweriana Show” each year at the Rusty Rail in Canastota.
“That’s why I like being from “Can”astota,” Kupfer said.
Kupfer displayed some of his collection during the annual Hop Fest held at the Madison County Historical Society Sept. 17.