Alcohol on Postage Stamps: Beer, Wine & Spirits

              Overview

I.   Background

II.  Alcohol on Postage Stamps

III. Anti-Alcohol Stamps

III. Resources

I. Background.

Alcohol on postage stamps is a frequent theme. Countries often use postage stamps to promote their products. Of course, a major export of many countries are alcoholic beverages. So it’s natural to see beer, wine and distilled spirits featured on stamps. Spirits drinks incluse rum, vodka, tequila, whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch, etc.

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Prohibited Stamp

For nearly a century, companies have operated private postal meters. In recent years, these companies have designed private stamps for their customers. However, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) basically prohibits showing alcohol on such stamps. More specifically, it prohibits  depicting “any non-incidental depiction of alcohol.”

Most  countries promote their alcoholic products. A conspicuous exception is the U.S. This reflects its temperance and prohibition orientation. Importantly, it had National Prohibition of alcohol for almost 14 years.

Even today, there are many dry (prohibition) counties in the U.S. And almost one out of five American adults favors making drinking alcohol illegal for everyone. And that’s regardless of age. (Surprisingly, not even National Prohibition was that extreme. That is, it didn’t prohibit drinking alcohol.)

Neo-prohibition sentiment is strong in the country. Therefore, not a single U.S. postage shows alcohol in a positive way.

II. Alcohol on Postage Stamps

These stamps represent 66 countries. They appear in random order.

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Sloe derries for sloe gin.

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Agave, from which tequila is made.

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Gin

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Rum distillery

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History of making rum.

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alcohol on postageNot even National Prohibition was that extreme]]alcohol on postage

 

 

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Wine Press House

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Alcohol Transporting Ship.

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Celebration of wine and raisin conference.

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German beer hall.

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Pisco is a brandy.

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III. Anti-Alcohol Stamps

This section includes anti-alcohol, anti-alcoholism, and anti-drunk driving postage stamps.

 

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Enforcing Anti-Alcohol Prohibition Law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IV. Resources: Alcohol on Postage Stamps

Hip Stamp. (Vast collection of stamps. Also has excellent site search engine. Thus, it’s easy to find stamps on any topic.)

Int. Wine and Food Society. (Very interested in wine, spirits, and beer.)  

Martin, W. Topical Stamp Collecting. Arco, 1975.

New Rules for Computer-generated Postage. (Explains the many things that may not appear on privately printed stamps.)

Sine, R. Stamp Collecting for Dummies. NY: Hungry Minds, 2001.

Smith, R. et al. Beverage Basics: Understanding Wine, Beer, and Spirits. Hoboken: Wilet, 2011.

Stamp Community. (Useful site.) 

U.S. Stamp Controversy. (Raises free speech issue about what may not appear on privately printed stamps. For example, such stamps may not show images of politicians. Nor may they state political or social opinions or beliefs.)

Watson, J. Stamp Collecting: Collecting by Theme. London: Gibbons, 1983. (Useful guide.)

Images of stamps from these countries appear here.

  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao (Dutch Antilles)
  • Cyprus
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Czech Republic
  • Esotho
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Polynesia
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Granada
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Korea
  • Liechenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Maldives
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Ras al-Khaimah
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saint-Pierre & Miquelon
  • Slovinia
  • San Marino
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Togo
  • Transkei
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • U.S.
  • Uruguay
  • Wallis et Futuna

Finally, a plea. If you know of postage stamps that should appear here, simply email hansondj (@) potsdam (.) edu.  Thank you very much for your time and help!