Colonial and Imported Lager Beer

The Brisbane Courier, Monday 1 February 1892, page 7



About 11 a.m. on Thursday, the 21st instant,two bodies of revenue officers simultaneously took possession of the premises of Messrs. Lange and Thoneman, William-street, and the Foster Lager Beer Factory, Rokeby Street, Collingwood. Action was taken under sections 12 and 13 of the Trades Marks Statute by advice of the Crown Law Department, it being charged against both firms that they were fraudulently concerned in placing upon the market colonial lager beer purporting to be lager beer imported from Germany.

Detective Christie, who was in charge of the party, proceeding to Messrs. Lange and Thoneman’s,seized on their premises thirty-seven cases of lager beer, each bottle contained therein bearing an oval label, which was only printed half its length, and bore the following words:-“Export-Brauhaus Compagnie,” in semi-circular form over a cross, beneath which were the words “Handels-Zeichen.” The lower half of the label was blank. It struck the Customs officers as unusual that so called imported beer should bear incomplete labels.On examining the cases it was dis- covered that they bore what purported to be”landing marks,” as though they had been received from shipboard. Furthermore, a”bond mark” appeared upon them-namely,”R. T. over 32 ;” but the latter bond mark was known to the authorities as having been out of use for nine years.

The employees at Messrs.Lange and Thoneman’s, of course, gave in-formation to the excise men as to what ship the goods arrived in, subject to verification by the records, pending which the thirty-seven cases were transported to the Queen’s warehouse.

Mr. Foley and party,who entered under warrant the premises of the Foster Brewing Company, found there about fifty dozen bottles of lager beer completely labelled as follows, in the same style as those seized at Messrs. Lange and Thoneman’s :-“Export-Brauhaus Compagnie. Handels-Zeichen, Munchener Bier, Beste Qualität, Speciell für heisse klimaterge-braut.” To make the thing complete, stencil plates were discovered for producing this label, and the landing marks, “L and T over M.”: also a large number of loose labels. The beer and the “properties” were all seized.

Messrs.Lange and Thoneman and the Foster Brewing Company will be prosecuted by the Customs Department under the same sections of the Act which justified tho seizures, also all vendors of the beer alleged to be fraudulently labelled. Evidence offered in the latter case that the beer was sold in the innocent belief that it was really made in Germany will, of course, be a good defence. The authorities have been aware for a long time that colonial beer has been sold at imported prices as German beer, but have refrained from taking action in the hope that the holders of the trade marks which were being infringed would sue the persons implicated. Lager beer sold as the manufacture of the Schloss Brauerei Company has been alleged to owe its origin to Collingwood Flat, and a celebrated brand of lager has also been the medium for selling colonial beer at double the rates which are charged for it under its name.

At length the abuse became so glaring that the Secretary for Customs consulted with the Minister as to what should be done, and they submitted the case to the Crown Law Department, with the result that the proceedings described have been initiated. On the evidence of an analytical chemist of repute it will be proved by the authorities that the lager beer to be found in the market selling as imported German lager is of exactly the same brew as certain colonial lager beer sold as colonial lager. Publicans who have been found with a large quantity of the so-called German lager in stock will depose that they paid as much as 10s. 3d. per dozen for it, as compared with 4s. 6d. per dozen which they had given for the same beer under a colonial name, and that Messrs. Lange and Thoneman sold them the beer as bona fide German. Records will also be quoted by witnesses for the Crown regarding the importations by Messrs.Lange and Thoneman of this class of goods if any.

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