Saturday, September 10, 2011

Craft Beer Collectibles: What Do You Horde?

Craft Beer CollectiblesWe do it unconsciously. We save the oddest of items when we explore craft beer. Craft beer collectibles are everywhere and we may not even know that we collect them. Go ahead, check your drawers and boxes. It's surprising what you may find. I recently went through some of my old things and I was shocked to find what I stashed away.

It starts out as a novelty. Something catches your eye and you put it in your pocket. You visit a brewery, you attend a beer festival, you see some swag laying around that the marketing reps are handing out. Perhaps a friend gives you something they picked up at a bar the other day. Nobody knows how it starts, but sooner or later you find yourself adding more and more of them to your "collection".

And so it begins. Craft beer collectors are everywhere and they might not even know it. So what do they collect? The answer may surprise you. Here is a list of the things I found myself putting away in various nooks and crannies in my house. You may find you collect some of the same things.

Craft Beer Collectibles

Postcards - these aren't as prevalent as other collectibles. But some breweries hand these out in their taprooms.

Bottle corks & cages - bigger bottles and some rarer bottles of beer come with a wire cage and cork. Some of the caps and corks have great designs on them. Plus if you smell corks you can often find aromatic traces of what used to be inside those bottles.

Beer StickersStickers - whether it be a bumper sticker, a promotional sticker or a label replica - they are often handed out at beer festivals. I had a big handful of them.

Beer coasters - these tend to be everywhere at restaurants and breweries. A simple cork-like wafer. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some square, round, rectangular and sometimes in the oddest of shapes.

Beer labels - these are harder to collect as it involves careful peeling of the label from the bottle. Often they do not come off in one piece. The rare ones that do come off easily are stashed away. Sometimes you even get an unused label fresh from a brewery. The artwork on some of these are amazing.

Bottles and Cans - Even bottles and cans themselves make good collectibles. The ones in pristine condition and many years old can be worth a lot to the right collector. Some collect these out of pure laziness - they just don't throw them away.

Business Cards - Brewery reps are everywhere these days. They often hand them out at festivals, beer dinners and during tours. These cards often have the brewery logo on them. I found several in my drawers.

Beer glasses & steins - Many festivals give out tasting glasses, goblets and porcelain steins with logos on them. If you go to enough beer festivals, you'll probably have a shelf full of these small to large glasses.

Pictures of beer - this is a self-made collectible. I love to photograph the beers I taste and I've ended up with hundreds of digitized images of beer. It can be fun to go back through them and share them with other beer enthusiasts.

Buttons and pins - These items are as common as the stickers. These items also come in various shapes - usually round. A brewery logo or clever saying make for cheap swag at beer festivals.

Beer tokens - these items are usually intended as a substitute for currency at beer festivals and tastings. They are either wooden or plastic. Some are good for 1 drink. Some are simply souvenirs. They are also highly collectible in good condition.

Bottle CapsBottle caps - this is one of the biggest items I collect. I laid them all out on a table and captured the essence. You get a good idea of which breweries you tend to drink the most. Some of the caps may surprise you? "When did I drink one of those"? The artwork on some of the caps are quite clever and beautiful.

Wrist bands - most beer festivals will card you and slap a wrist band on you to show that you've cleared your ID check and paid for the festival. They are hard to remove in one piece. They must usually be cut off with scissors. Surprisingly, you can keep these colorful bands. I ended up keeping all of my wrist bands and mark the backs of them to let me know which festival they came from.

Patches - these are not normally handed out as they are usually sold due to the expense of making them. I've purchased a few of these cloth items but have never sewn them on a jacket. The artwork can be quite detailed. These come in various shapes and sizes.

Bottle openers - beer and bottle openers go together. You often see these handed out at beer tastings and festivals. Openers usually have imprinted logos or inserts put on them. I had a handful of these. Some I use regularly.

T-shirts - Who doesn't like a t-shirt with your favorite brewery logo on it? I must have a dozen or more of these. Some are given away and some you buy at festivals or breweries. A t-shirt can say a lot about who you are and what you enjoy. Some are worn just for the "shock" value.

These were the items that I found myself collecting. Other items that I've seen others collect are:

- Tap handles
- Hats
- Advertisements
- Posters
- Bike Jerseys
- Neon Signs
- Clocks
- Mirrors
- Metal signs

The list can go on and on...

So what do you find yourself collecting? Did you intend on collecting these or did they just happen to accumulate? Also, do you tend to display your collections or do you keep them tucked away?

Bottle cap screen background

Here is a sample desktop image I created of part of my bottle cap collection. If you like it - feel free to use it as your PC background image.

Bottle Cap Background 1920x1080

Related articles:
- Can we really choose a favorite beer?
- List of favorite beer blogs.
- GABF Week at the Falling Rock Tap House.

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