This is the place to learn about the brewery collectible hobby,
how it started, why we do it and how you can too.
Learn a bit of beer can history while you're at it.
History of our Club
People just love to collect stuff. Any stuff. Never has the
adage "one man's trash is another's treasure" rung so true. It's
no wonder, then, that beer drinkers have long enjoyed collecting
just about everything with a brewery name or brand on it — what
we call breweriana today.
While there had always been individual beer can collectors
around, contact between them was mostly local and usually
coincidental. Then, on October 20, 1969, an article in the
St.Louis Globe Democrat featured the beer can collection of
one Denver Wright, Jr. He soon heard from several kindred
spirits in the St. Louis area, and at a meeting at Wright's
house in April 1970, the organization now known as the Brewery
Collectibles Club of America was born. Back then though, it was
called the Beer Can Collectors of America.
By the end of 1971, the BCCA boasted 304 members, from 17 states
and Canada. Overseas members, some from as far away as Australia
and New Zealand, have attended every one of its annual
CANventions in the last two decades.
can and breweriana collecting grew like wildfire in the 1970s.
In 1978, the club's roster numbered nearly 12,000 members,
including many grade-schoolers and high-schoolers. For a while,
the industry capitalized on the fad by pumping out
specially-designed commemorative cans whose only reason for
being was that collectors would snap them up. As a result most
of these commemorative cans are still incredibly abundant and
virtually worthless, most notably the ubiquitous Billy Beer.
Early on, only trading was allowed at BCCA-sanctioned shows.
However with the amazing popularity of the hobby, money did find
its way into the BCCA and the ban on cash transactions at shows
was eventually lifted.
Over the ensuing years, the hobby has matured. Less serious
collectors have dropped out, leaving the core membership of the
BCCA to be collectors with stronger passion, larger collections
and greater interest in the survival and growth of the club. As
a result of their stewardship the BCCA remains the premier club
in the hobby. And brewery-related items are now taken very
seriously as collectibles.
The spectacular growth in the 1990s of microbrewing has helped
to foster a renewed interest in breweriana collecting. Micro
items are in high demand, and BCCA membership is on the rise.
New members are signing up and many collectors who were active
in the '70s and '80s are rejoining. The club now boasts more
than 4,000 active members from all 50 states and 27 foreign
Today our club publishes a professional, full-color 48-page
bimonthly magazine, stages an annual CANvention that attracts an
average of 1000 members, is involved in a national brewery
museum effort, hosts a comprehensive Web site, and has published
the hobby's premier beer can reference guide. We've come a long,
long way since 1970!
In all likelihood, there's a BCCA Chapter in your state or local
area. The club has well over 100 Chapters, both local and
at-large, so no matter what you collect or where you live, you
can find and meet collectors who share your collecting passion.
If you're into collecting almost anything connected with beer
and breweries, you belong in the BCCA.
on-line now using the membership application in our
Learn about chapters
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