Friday, April 5, 2013

Everything Old is New Breweriana

It’s always fun to share a hobby with your partner.  My husband Paul and I love to go to flea markets, antique shops, estate sales, etc. and look for things to add to our home, collections and my Etsy shop.  While I’m busy looking for Lucille Ball or Grace Kelly items, Paul is scoping out anything considered to be breweriana. 

What is breweriana?
Any item that contains a brewery name or brand name and the collection of those items as a hobby.  It spans a wide range of items.  This includes beer cans, trays, coasters, signs, beer steins, taps, bottles, etc. 

Below is my interview with Paul about collecting Breweriana. 

What is your favorite brewery to collect?
Buffalo breweries of course!  Buffalo has such a rich brewing history going back to its immigrant roots.  Germans, Poles and the Irish all brought rich European style brewing to Buffalo and opened many local breweries.  International (Iroquois), Becks and Simon Pure top my list of local collectibles.

How did you get started?
I started by saving bottles from beer I was buying in the store.  They displayed well, and showed off my love of craft and local breweries.  From there I would find a vintage bottle here or there of something I had from my new collection.  I thought it looked cool to have a bottle from the '50's or '60's next to its modern counterpart.  Eventually the bottle collecting became more about the vintage bottles than the modern ones.  Then a few signs crept into the collection and I've gone from there.

Do you have a favorite piece?
My favorite piece is a back lit bar sign from Simon Pure.  It's got great graphics and colors.  It really pops when lit.

Is it hard to get started collecting?
No!  Like any other collection, start with what you like and grow from there.  Condition, as with most collectibles, can greatly alter the price of an item.  This can be your friend!  For example, mint beer trays can be very pricey depending on the brewery.  However, you can often those with scratches or small amounts of rust along the lip or inside edge.  These minor imperfections can bring the price down into a reasonable range, and adds character as far as I'm concerned!

Another tip is to look for items in unexpected places.  Specialized breweriana sales can be a wealth of information and great for those starting out in the hobby, but you're not likely to find many deals.  If you look in unexpected places like yard and rummage sales, you're likely to strike out and find nothing, but every so often you'll find that hidden gem at just the right price.

Continuing with unexpected places, if there's one thing breweries have always done a lot of is advertise.  How often have you seen stacks of old magazines at rummage and flea markets?  Usually they're kept because of who's on the cover, but open one up and look at the ads.  You'll find national brewery advertising in no time.  If you're looking for Buffalo breweries, find Buffalo specific printed materials.  Open a vintage Shea's playbook or a copy of the Courier Express or Buffalo Evening News.  You may just find a great Lang, Mohawk Special or Schreiber's ad.  Cut it out and put it in a frame, that will look great in your collection.

Buffalo Breweries from Past and Present (This is just the short list!)

Gerhard Lang Park Brewery
German American Beer Co.
Ziegle’s Brewery Co.’s Phoenix Brewery
Buffalo Brewing Co.
Flying Bison Brewery
Simon Pure Brewery
Christian Weyand Brewery
Lion Brewery
Iroquois Brewery
George Rochevot Brewery
Lion Brewery
Iroquois Brewery
International Brewery
Schreiber Brewing Co.
Lakeview Brewery Malt House
Buffalo Brew Pub
Pearl Street Grill and Brewery


  1. Great interview! Just wondering Paul, where is your collection? Basement, attic?
    My son has a cd/record collection that may just take over the house to the dismay of his wife!
    I do think collectors are special people!

  2. We've have a back Florida room. We created one side as a dining area and one side as a bar area. Our house was built in the 1960's and has built in cupboards and shelving with lots of storage. We have a bar that is movable and folds up if we ever when to move it. It's definitely difficult to have a big collection!!

    1. Oooh, sounds fab! Please share pics at one of our meetups!

  3. That's pretty cool thing to collect and a great blog post! I never heard of breweriana before, but will think of it when I happen by some old beer bottles...

  4. Erica & Paul, thank you both for this great interview! I've got an antique wood corkscrew thingy from a Buffalo whiskey distributor to show Paul some day!

  5. Great interview with paul and wonderful collection. Pub Paraphernalia have stock of attractive breweriana for customers. Pub Paraphernalia has thriving collection of Brewerianas with lots of brand promotions.