The Rolling Rock "33"

The enigmatic Cecil Adams made an incorrect statement regarding the mysterious “33” on the back of the Rolling Rock Beer bottle. The posted explanation quotes the back of the bottle incorrectly. It actually reads: “From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you.”
As far as the explanation given for the “33” I suppose I should not argue with the former owner of the company, but the legend that exists in Latrobe says that it was a printing error made sloely on the part of the printer. I never heard about that the original copy sent to the printer mistakenly read “33” at the bottom. If you read the above you will see that there are not 33 words in the correct version of the statement.

From 3
the 4
glass 5
lined 6
tanks 7
of 8
Old 9
Latrobe 10
we 11
tender 12
this 13
premium 14
beer 15
for 16
your 17
enjoyment 18
as 19
a 20
tribute 21
to 22
your 23
good 24
taste 25
It 26
comes 27
from 28
the 29
mountain 30
springs 31
to 32
you 33

It’s good beer. Why the hell care about the label?

Because that’s the Straight Dope way.

And it’s not particularly good beer. It’s very bland.


First off, it is a darn fine beer. Especially if it is just about one half degree above its freezing point. Anyway, taste, as beauty, is in the eye (tongue?) of the beholder…

As far as the “33” goes, I have participated in many discussions, mainly with a buddy of mine from Pennsylvania, and an alumnus of Penn State. Needless to say, people from Pennsylvania take pride in their home state. And as we all know, Rolling Rock is brewed in Latrobe, PA.

So, one evening I looked up Pennsylvania in the World Book Encyclopedia, and lo and behold, there it was.

Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state in the union, ranked by land area.

Mere coincidence??? I have no idea. But there it was in black and white.

I have also heard that it was the number of the race horse also featured on the bottle.

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Cecil’s column can be found on-line at this link:

Why is there a “33” on Rolling Rock beer labels?

I’m going to have to say coincidence. Alaska did not become a state until 1959. Therefore, Pennsylvania would only have been the 32nd largest state in 1939, when Rolling Rock went into production.