They Meet Up in Motels Across America…to Trade Old Beer Cans
Their collections may look like trash to you, but these guys know every can has a story—and some have shockingly high price tags, too.
Photos by Amanda Berg
I’m on a hike with my husband along the C&O Canal in Washington, D.C., when he leaps off the path, slides down an incline, and begins digging through the dark, wet leaves near the water’s edge. As oncoming hikers approach he surfaces with a rusty can, dirt clinging to its sides.
“Black Label, about 1965!” he exclaims, walking up to the path from the muck.
The hikers pass. I cringe and avoid eye contact.
“The can has ants on it,” I say. “Is it coming in the car with us?”
Inside the Ziploc bag, ants crawl in and out of the holes in the old can. That Black Label specimen will become his “gateway beer can” to reclaiming 1,000 cans from storage and diving back into the weird world of beer can collector conventions.
As I have since learned, beer can collectors meet up in hotels across America at “canventions” to trade, sell, and buy cans. The Brewery Collectibles Club of America (BCCA), one of the main membership organizations for breweriana collectors, consists …