Money in a bottle

Remember the good old days of regional cordial and ginger beer makers like Spain, Hobbs and Barry? If you held onto any of the glass or stoneware bottles, you could make yourself a tidy profit.
Avid Kyneton collector Neville said nowadays old bottles were collected by enthusiasts across the country and could vary in value from $20 to $500 plus, depending on age, condition and scarcity. And, there is plenty of interest in those from the Kyneton and Castlemaine districts.
“Way back in the 1940s to ’70s there were several local cordial and ginger beer makers competing for local business in the Kyneton and Castlemaine regions,” Neville said.
“In the ’40s there were Spain, Hobbs and Barry as the main rivals, and they bottled their cordials in glass bottles, with a marble stopper in the neck, to seal in the freshness, and ginger beer was bottled in sturdy stoneware bottles – as it was quite an explosive brew, and could easily explode when shaken too much during transit.
“The glass bottles had the company name boldly embossed on the front, and the stoneware bottles had their name boldly ink-stamped on the front.”
Neville said there were also several glass soda siphons in a variety of colours like blue, green, amber and pink, also with the company name etched on the front.
He said Kyneton Soft Drinks, in the early 1970s, had bottles featuring a small rotunda as they were located at the present Kyneton Mineral Water company, near the original rotunda in the nearby park, where many locals pump the mineral water into their own bottles.
“Even though these are only from the 1970s, they are quite scarce, and can fetch up to $100,” Neville said.
And in nearby Castlemaine, there were also several local companies, such as Jones & McEwan, and Greys and Browns from Campbells Creek.
If local readers want to make enquiries, they can call Neville on 5422 6330. He is also keen to hear more about the history of these companies.

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