What is the world’s largest catsup bottle in Collinsville filled with?

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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — Did you know the Collinsville Catsup Bottle used to be a water tower? It stands as the world’s largest catsup bottle, but used to supply water to the company that manufactured the catsup bottles.

The giant catsup bottle has a website called that is dedicated to it’s history, plus a fan club and offers merchandise for supporters of the historic landmark. The catsup bottle is 170 feet tall, featuring a 70-foot-tall steel bottle atop 100 foot tall steel legs. The bottom of the bottle spans 25 feet across, narrowing to 8 feet at the top.

Painters, from Reinneck Industrial Coatings in O’Fallon, Ill., paint the famous Brooks Catsup bottle in Collinsville, Ill., Wednesday July 1, 2009. The 11th annual World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival Birthday Party and Car Show is scheduled for July 12 in Collinsville. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Tim Vizer)

Constructed in 1949, the tower still stands at Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville, Illinois. The water tower was built by W.E. Caldwell for the G.S. Suppiger catsup bottling plant, a plant that housed Brooks’ “old original” rich and tangy catsup.

In 1947, the W.E. Caldwell Company of Louisville, Kentucky, started a contract to build a 100,000-gallon water tower. When final drawings were being prepared, company president Gerhart S. Suppiger suggested the tower take the shape of their catsup bottles. Little did they know that this decision would lead the water tower to the status of a historically recognized landmark.

Despite the company’s disbandment, the water tower underwent restoration in 1995, thanks to the efforts of volunteers in the “Paint It!” campaign. Raising the necessary $80,000, the campaign involved repairs, stripping, and painting, taking two years to complete.

May 17, 1997, marked the start of the “Catsup Bottle Appreciation Day” event, evolving into the “World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival.” In August 2002, it earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The most recent festival took place on July 8, 2023. In the 2024 Tournament of Roses Parade, the Illinois Tourism float featured the world’s largest catsup bottle.

As for the catsup that inspired the water tower, it continues to be manufactured, now owned by Birds Eye Foods and produced in Canada.

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