American Breweriana Journal May/June 2011
Otto’s Pub and Brewery, a Breweriana Collector’s Paradise
By Rich Wagner, ABA 2360
About a year ago I received an email from Roger Garthwaite, one of the owners of Otto’s Bub and Brewery in State College, PA. They were moving to a larger location and he was hunting for breweriana to fill the walls and illustrate Pennsylvania’s historical prominence in the brewing industry.
Roger also wanted to enlarge images of breweriana and have them printed on canvas banners to hang from the ceiling in the restaurant. This intrigued me and I invited him to see what I had to offer.
I had just photographed Daryl Ziegler’s (ABA 9499) collection of Pennsylvania brewery trays which he displays in a portion of his basement affectionately known as “The Tin Tunnel.” The collection is quite impressive and includes some of the state’s more obscure breweries. I explained what Roger had in mind and Daryl enthusiastically granted permission to use images of his trays.
When Roger sat down to review all the images I had he received quite an education in the history of brewing in the Keystone State. He was overwhelmed, to say the least. “This is a much bigger project than I ever imagined!” was all he could say. I could see the wheels turning as Roger recalibrated the possibilities in his mind. I provided him with around a hundred images of interior and exterior views of brewery buildings nad the workers who made the beer and drove the wagons. He also selected his favorite images from “The Tin Tunnel.”
Roger also wanted me to write a brief history of each brewery represented to train the wait staff so they could answer questions from customers. He has since posted these on Otto’s website.
When I got to see their new location last fall I was floored! Throughout the pub and dining areas are around two dozen double-sided colorful banners depicting some of the finest images from “The Tin Tunnel” along with images of signs, labels and more. In addition, Roger has amassed quite a collection of breweriana which is all on display. I’ve seen lots of brewpubs that have incorporated breweriana into their décor but have never seen anything like this. Combine this with great beer and food and you’ve got a “must see” destination in Central Pennsylvania.
01 Otto’s exterior view.
02 Customers enter through the lobby which contains two display cases full of PA breweriana.
03-04 Rival Brewerytown, Philadelphia brewers Bergner & Engel and Poth both published colorful books showing interior and exterior views of their extensive plants in the 1880s. (Handy Collection).
05 Display of Otto’s labels.
06 To the left of the lobby is a game room frequently used for private parties.
07 To the right of the lobby is the main bar and dining area.
08 In addition to the banners there is plenty of breweriana on display.
09 The artwork of the banners beautifully grace the main dining area.
10 The banners beautifully fill the space and wonderfully illustrate Pennsylvania’s brewing heritage.
11 Tin Sign from Graupner’s brewery (Harrisburg).
12 This image of a bland stock tray was altered to advertise Otto’s beer.
13 The spacious main bar is open, airy and well lighted.
14 Lunch break for Charlie Schnable (owner/brewer) and brewer Chris Brugger.
15 Image from the post prohibition era of a plane load of beer arriving in Pennsylvania from Chicago.
16 Otto’s began packaging cases of 12-oz. bottles which are meeting widespread approval in the tavern and retail trades.