Congrats to collector Dennis Dail for joining the official Jug Club.  His painstaking work paid off, wouldn’t you agree?


He joins Eric Mierzwiak (2009 story) and Mark Foster (2010 post) in the elite group and between us girls, I understand we may have a fourth member soon. 

Here’s Dennis’s story in his own words:

I wanted to shoot you a note to let you know my Little Brown Jug is finally complete and being displayed in my Michigan Cave in my basement….took me several months of late evening work, but I wanted to make it exactly like the Real Jug. jug1 I’m not sure if I have shared all this, but I found this “1905 5-gallon Red Wing Jug” (that’s what it said on the bottom) several years back at an Antique Shop, the big one on the South side of I-94 just over West of AA, that is now closed.  I pulled it out awhile back here and started the transformation process from a brown, ugly jug to the newly painted Little Brown Jug as we know it today.  It took many hours of planning, measuring, supply purchasing and thinking before the project began.  With help and tips along the way from fellow Jug maker Eric Mierzwiak and several visits to the local Sherwin Williams store, the painting began. 

First went on a couple coats of primer, then ½  the Jug was spray painted Minnesota Maroon, then ½ Michigan Blue, then the skinny Maize “stripe” to separate the Maroon & Blue.  Sherwin Williams here in town actually called their stores in Minneapolis and Ann Arbor to get exact color paint codes, so the paint was exact. 

jug15Next were the challenging 4 white vertical columns which would eventually display all of the years/scores.  This was a challenge as I needed to keep the column the exact width from bottom to top as the Jug curved, so lots of taping-measuring-retaping-measuring then painting.  Then on to the Block M for Michigan and Minnesota. 

I ended up taking paper copies of each block M and blowing up on a printer to the exact size I needed, tracing this “M” on contact paper, sticking the paper to the Jug, cutting out the “M” with a razor blade cutter and painting the big block M’s on the jug, then pulling the contact paper off for drying.  Some touch up was needed.  The Minnesota “M” was then outlined in black using a Paint Pen.  They turned out exactly as I had envisioned, but the Minnesota M is a bit more spread out now than the one on the original Jug, but one would not know unless I told them.

Next up was the task of getting the Scores/Years on the jug, meaning lots of measuring as there are more scores on 2 of the white verticals than the other 2.  I made 3 paper templates, one for the 22 scores plus top YEAR line, one for the 24 scores plus top YEAR line and one to match the panel with the 1926 scores, to match exactly where I wanted the black paint pen lines on the white verticals. I made sure the templates were exact before I started with black paint pens on the nice, white vertical.  Painting on the lines was a bit of a challenge on the curve of the Jug, and I ended up re-painting one of the white panels as the paint pen lines got a little out of proportion on the curve.  Once the lines were all painted, I practiced a couple nights on the Years and Scores so that they would match how they look on the real Jug.  It took me about a week to get all the Years and Scores and little Block M boxes on the Jug, again I didn’t like one of the verticals when done so I re-painted the entire vertical white and started over, as I did not have the Years spaced as I wanted.  I then spent a few days touching up, looking at it from a distance, etc. etc. to insure it was as close to the real Little Brown Jug as possible.  I then placed the original “cork” back in it, but it’s not really a cork, it’s more of a 106 year old, soiled cloth wrapped very tightly that serves as a cork or lid to the jug. 

I plan to bring the Jug up to Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game in hopes of showing it off to Jon Falk and others.

Well done, Dennis!  Check out more Little Brown Jug Lore here.

1 Comment

  1. Nice work! I aspire to make my own some day once I have the financial resources and can find the right jug…and acquire some semblance of artistic ability.