In the 1970's, Budweiser started a trend by making knitted beer sweaters. One of the early years they did it, they had proceeds of each sweater go towards funding the olympic ski team. They used newspaper, magazines and television to promote the sale of them. As beer sweaters gained popularity, other brands followed suit in making these gems. Some of the brands include: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style, Olympia, Schmidt, Grain Belt, Schlitz, Strohs, Coors, Black Label, Guinness, and more.
Most sweaters were made out of an acrylic blend to withstand abuse and cold temperatures while still being durable enough to be put through the washing machine. They were usually produced in the United States except for some of the late 1980's sweaters that were made over seas. A good majority of them were made in Milwaukee, WI in the industrial area. At that time, Milwaukee was known for their excellent knitting mills in addition to being a brewery city.
In 2010, Lancaster LTD. remade the Budweiser knitted sweater. The sweaters were made over seas and them imported to Canada and the United States. Urban Outfitters picked it up and was the main retailer. They didn't last too long and Urban Outfitters stopped carrying them after 2 years. Even thought the replicas failed, the excitement of the actual vintage sweater still pulls beer lover's heart strings. As time passes, these knitted beer sweaters become increasingly scarce. Owners of them have been known to frame them, wear them, hoard them and hopefully wear them.
Sam @ Barcloset.com