How many people have tried to entice me with the sale of their preciously empty BEER CAN COLLECTIONS over the years?
Well let me put it this way: From the hundreds of home bars I have visted, I could fill an AA Intervention at any major sports stadium in the country-- and it probably wouldn't be the first time.
"Why do you rob banks?" they once asked John Dillinger. "Because it's where the money is!" he allegedly replied.
"And why collect Beer Cans?" I ask of the collector.
"Because it's where the beer used to be!" Greatest answer I've ever heard. Inebriated, but great.
However I must confess I have never purchased a single Beer Can Collection in my 20+ years in the biz, mostly because the Beer Cans themselves were too plain, too new (last night, last week?) or just too kick-in-the-ass-can boring. In the end I suspect there's rarely anything collectible about a cheap drunk, especially if you are one already.
Here's the Hard Liquor Lesson Learned: If you have to drink, it's always better to consume and collect the higher priced hooch or at least the obscure and off brand.
With the explosion of microbreweries across the country, I predict this to be a market to take a second look at... in about 20 years, 10 with good behavior. That is, if you're still standing.
Now my rejection of such collections are routintely followed by the pitch of a LIQUOR BOTTLE collection, almost always as equally dull. Only once did I buy a large collection of miniature whiskey and other hard liquor bottles, some with their odd brand labels and State Liquor Sales Tax ringlets still attached. I also sold those in a drunken heartbeat. I could have used 100 more. Set 'em up, Joe.
What makes the Vintage Beer Can Coffee Table shown here so intriguing are the various beer brands represented. Most of these companies are no longer in existence, making that required leap from unsaleable to tipsy-kitsch collectible that much easier. Gone may be the owner-- and his liver, but the collection lives on.
Now consider for a moment the mind of Andy Warhol. He certainly could have opted for the Beer Can in lieu of Campbell's Soup Can. From what we now know, Andy would have his Personal Assistants clean his paint brushes in a very curious, post-beer-drinking way. Now rather than pissing away the concept of multiple cans of Budweiser, Andy aimed for something just as familiar, but more homespun. He was from Pittsburgh, afterall.
I think we owe Andy yet another round of applause.
Yesterday's near Beer Can Art could easily have become a Future unable to dodge a Coor's Silver Bullet.
D.A. Copyright WDMS, 2011