Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"4 Dot" Olympia Beer Label

Where do myths begin? Is there any basis in truth to them?

Perhaps the answer can be found in cyberspace, which is a good place to start to find the truth of this mythical question--

If a female signs her name to the back of the label from a stubby Olympia beer (i.e., an "Oly") . . . and the label has four dots on it . . . does that really mean she's agreed to . . . and has to . . . (well, you know) . . . ?

The myth began (at least among my circle of miscreants) in the 1960s. Somebody heard it from somebody. So, it must have had some merit to it. The process was very very simple--

(1) Have some money.

(2) Get some Olympia beer from somebody (a) old enough to buy it and (b) stupid enough to be willing to break the law by supplying it to incredibly stupid minors with no common sense.

(3) Consume enough Olympia "stubbies" until a label is
found with what appears to be four dots on the back side.

(4) Reach into the glove box and pull out a magnifying glass to examine the smear marks after the first couple of dots. Study it in the light of the campfire.

( 5) Have a friend or other impartial observer double-check the marks.

(6) Get a consensus that the label does in fact have the requisite four official dots.

(7) Resist the urge to sell the priceless label for just enough money to buy another case of beer.

(8) Find a pencil.

(9) Find a willing female participant who's gullible enough or sympathetic enough to sign the label.

(10) Get the signature.

It's been my observation that nobody has ever gotten past step (5). Never. Ever.

It has occurred to me that the myth was generated and circulated by the marketing department of Olympia Brewing Company at Tumwater Washington. But, probably not. The Olympia Brewing Company began brewing Olympia Beer in 1896 at Tumwater Washington, just south of Olympia. Olympia Beer was very popular in the Pacific Northwest and eventually expanded nationwide. It was reasonably priced (i.e., cheap). The brewery was eventually purchased by Miller, which closed the Olympia brewery in 2003 as being unprofitable.
So, the answer to the question? Inconclusive. It appears that there's just not enough hard evidence to reach a conclusion. Still, there are people out there who are still contemplating, inquiring, conducting research: ". . . and peeling off the label to count how many dots were on the back. A four-dot was treasure indeed because, when presented to your girlfriend, it meant that she had to . . . well, best draw a veil of graceful ambiguity across THAT one . . . not that I ever had a four-dot --- or that many girlfriends, come to that --- but an anonymous can of Oly still ranks among the best beers I've ever had . . ." "Oly Labels (4 dots indicated a particular production code). Two most popular rumors (totally unsupported by Olympia Brewing Co): (1) If you saved up enough labels with the 4 dots on back, Olympia would provide you with a a free case/keg/lifetime supply (depends on who's telling the story); (2) If you could get a gal to sign the back of the 4 dot label, you were just about, almost, pretty near, but not quite assured of . . ."


  1. Slightly off-topic, but I had a neighbor in Spokane who liked to tell the story of his tour of the Olympia brewery. He says they had a tasting room where you could get a sample of Oly beer. He bellied up to the bar and asked for a Rainier beer. Without missing a beat the bartender took an empty mug and submerged it in the dishwater and slid it down the bar to my friend!

  2. I saw one of those four dot labels, believe it or not. Vaguely remember the potential pact, but it was two of us fourteen-year-olds going through her parents' refrigerator. Jo must have thought it odd when she found the naked six-pack. I don't know what Karla did with the label, but she was 6'4" and 280 pounds. She might still have it for all I know.

  3. I have a 4-dot and I'm not afaid to use it!!!!

    Want to see it?

  4. Hey, we here in the Northwest take our Oly 4 dotters very seriously. I don't know how this got started, but there used to be clear visible dots on the back of the oly labels, from any beer bottle. There would be one, two, three or four. Four being the most popular. The person who signs one has to do what the dots indicate if someone gives it back to them. Four means put out. And it wasn't just for girls, guys signed them too. Hope this helps. Lol.

  5. Absolutely right, Kat, it wasn't just for girls! I'm going to take the guy who wrote the above article to task, because I got beyond step fact all the way to step 10. Sadly, though, I never got to step ELEVEN.....but "Roadrunner", if you're still out there......I'm WAITING.

  6. I have some of them in a box from my childhood (I'm 52). My ex-wife wouldn't sign one. EX....

  7. I had found them, signed them, and had them signed as well. I did get to # 11 and I had it Tatooed on my arm, never had that signed though hmmmm maybe I will see if my husband has a pen lol

  8. That is exactly what it meant... each dot was a step... 1 a kiss, 2, a make out, 3 a feel up, 4 was go for it... This is factual... and I always had a pocket full of labels and had some signed... But the labels were on any Rainer bottle as I recall... not just a stubby... at least in the 60's to early 70's....

  9. Bob: Very funny. Oh the memories! I remember that just the way you summed it up. I was in the 6th grade and I got to dot 2. My best friend got to dot 3. We lived on a military base and went to the enlisted mens club (bar) every monday afternoon. Usually about 8 empty cases of Oly stubbies out back. We would cut the labels off with a box cutter and save them like money. Most of my friends knew all about it. Our parents didn't. Kind of like a secret code.

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  11. 1. Find 'em, 2. French 'em 3. Feel 'em & 4. Eff 'em! That's what it meant in the mid seventies

  12. lol my brother just brought this up to me I was born in 1965 anyway I was to little but my brother just asked me if he ever told me bout the dot story & he didn't . So I know now & he had me look it up & it's true!! lol

  13. ....

    Fucking sold this out....

    What is da word coming thru....

    Weak.... What are gonna do next....

    So yah, if anyone finds out where 2 get my fucking day beers anywhere email me....Lil bottle always better but cans are cool with me....
    Kill me if the are going after the Mexicans beer next.....and obviously Moosehead Lager..
    Number one Pick right Der..
    No diegah Not fucking moose Drool
    Goat em crowz daaahhhhhh

  14. So, it was actually on the Quart label...I had three of 'em in my wallet just in case I could find HER ... that one perfect girl that would unflinchingly redeem my coupon, and give me... ... ... where was I ?
    Oh, yeah the Meadow in Yosemite during the Fire Fall, drinking Gallo's original Red Mountain Vin Rose Goofy ... ahhhhhhh