I collect beer bottles. That’s kind of my thing. But, when you get into the nitty gritty of what that means, what gets collected and what does not? Do I want to collect only bottles or should I include cans? Do I only collect beers that I personally drank or should I collect any bottles? Can a beer be bad enough to skip collecting? Do home brews have a place in the collection?
In the long run, I can only answer these questions (for myself as much as anyone else) in a way that makes most sense for what I’m trying to accomplish with my collection. In my collection, I’m telling the story of my life. That is the driving force behind how I decide what to put in or not put in my collection. For example, as I have previously mentioned, my collection contains 44 cans from the 1970s that were originally collected by my brother and that I later rescued/stole from the basement. They are part of the collection because they were (at least indirectly) part of my story. The rest of the beer in my collection are ones that I personally drank because I want to show my story, not simply have a collection of bottles that don’t mean anything to me.
Case in point, I was at a Twin Peaks near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and scored a nice metal growler.
The servers offered to all sign the growler (probably looking to score a bigger tip). My friend Mike tried to talk me out of it, arguing that the growler, in it’s purest form, is what should be in the collection. At that time, Mike didn’t quite understand the point of the collection. It isn’t about the value of the bottles. It’s about telling the story. This growler is telling the story of when I spent two weeks straight doing research at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for work and got to go and hang out with the staff one night.
What about bad/mediocre beers? The Walmarts of brewing (e.g., Budweiser, Miller, Heineken) are great at putting out different bottles and cans of the same old products.
I could easily overrun the collection with these items. Rather than avoiding them, I try to add items that are part of the story. If I get a can or aluminum bottle at an amusement park or concert, it becomes part of the story. The same thing goes for beer that is downright horrible.
I got these atrocities at a 7-Eleven outside of the Brevard Zoo. I’m a sucker for new and unique things, so I gave them a shot. They tasted like watered down kool aid. But, they are part of the story. So, they stay in the collection.
Last, but definitely not least, there are home brews. I have had people share home brews with me and loved the beer. Make no mistake, I am astoundingly grateful to those people and would like to keep receiving those beers. However, the bottles were totally without labels and do not tell much of a story. Therefore, they have not made it into the collection. In contrast, my friend Billy makes home brews that are fantastic beer and he goes out of his way to create wonderful labels to go with them.
Billy, his family, and his beers are all a big part of my story. Therefore, the beer has a prominent place in the collection. If I receive more home brews that have descent looking labels, they would also become part of the collection.
I hope this sheds some light on how and why I collect bottles. Did I miss anything? If you have any questions on what I do or do not want to collect, ask in the comments section. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.