Ask anyone who grew up in Michigan during the 50s thru the 80s, and more than likely they will be able to tell you what a 'grasser' is. They will also tell you what a 'kegger' is. But usually they will describe them the same exact way: “it's a party out in a field with beer”.

Yeah, okay, but there is a difference between the two. According to A Glossary of Affluent Suburban Juvenile Slanguage a 'grasser' is described as “a beer, sex, or drug party held in an open area or grassy field.”  They go on to describe 'kegger': “This refers to a beer party where youngsters are charged $2.00 for admission”.

True grassers are always held in a field in some remote area away from the prying eyes of parents or the local authorities, and they may or may not charge admission.

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Keggers can be held almost anywhere: the above-mentioned fields or a house – usually the house of a kid whose parents went away for the weekend ("oh, it's parents will NEVER know..."). And the cover charge pays for the beer...but it falls short of paying for all the stuff they end up breaking or beer & wine stains they cause on the rug and furniture.

Each young generation thinks these parties are something new they came up with themselves, but no – these parties have been around for a very, very, long time. Secluded keg parties were held during Prohibition; even before Prohibition, there were open keg parties on the front lawns of many town residents, out in the open. Back then no one really cared (except temperance folks) came naturally. It was not unheard of or even scandalous for the adult males to have keg parties with their sons in attendance. For the ladies, it was more of a discreet thing – they would be thought of in a not-so-pleasant light, so many of their beer and wine parties were held indoors, out of sight.

The gallery below contains images of some old-fashioned keggers and grassers, even decades before those two terms were created. (When were they created, anyway?)

Grassers and Keggers: Old Beer Parties


Stroh's Beer Images

Goebel Beer Photos & Memorabilia

Michigan During Prohibition

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