Thursday, February 4, 2016
A Renewal - Of Sorts
This is the new information blog for the Atlantic Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America. The Atlantic Chapter has its own website, but it is inactive at this time. As some of our local members are not on Facebook, this new blog is intended to be another source of news about new cans, upcoming collectibles shows, other blogs and websites of interest.
One of the problems with a static membership is that tasks generally fall to a small number of people (the "10-80-10" rule) and sometimes those members experience disruptive life events that require them to "pull back" for a while. This has been the case for our chapter and especially for myself (but that is for another time). The advances of "Father Time" also take their toll, gradually or suddenly.
As with some other hobbies, there has been a "graying" among beer can (and breweriana) collectors over the recent years. There are several reasons for this, among which are the distraction of electronic games, the allure of social media, and the ease of purchasing cans on eBay and other auction/sales sites. Every chapter has its own demographic issues (positive and negative) that also affect the vitality of its collective membership and its leadership.
The veritable "explosion" of craft beer cans (and the growth of social media) over the past few years gives us the opportunity to bring in new collectors. In Georgia, for instance, approximately 1 year ago there were an estimated 29 craft beer can variations. With the advent of a new spreadsheet, there are an estimated 84 variations Georgia cans, with the number expected to top 100 by Summer.
In a way, we are back to where we were in the mid- to late-1970s with there being so many "local breweries" some of which had small sales areas. In the South, we depended on local/regional brands (or sinking national brands) like Shiner, Dixie, Falstaff, Carling, Duncan (Auburndale, FL), etc., to build our trade stock, when we could find them.
Same with today, especially in the early months of a particular brewery's can distribution. Though the primary brands from Savannah's Southbound Brewing Co. are now in Atlanta, their first design series was ending as their first shipments were reaching Atlanta. Other Georgia brands like Grumpy Old Men's ASKA Pale Ale - pictured above - (from Blue Ridge, GA) barely reach the "upper edges" of the Metro Atlanta area. These would make good traders.
Other considerations include "short run" limited brands or the possible decision of a small brewery to stop canning (in the case of those that rely on mobile truck-mounted canning systems). Likewise, these would make good traders. One problem is, we may not know until after-the-fact that a brewery has decided to no longer can its beers or that a design may be "tweaked".
Anyway, these current conditions provide a way for new collectors to start a new collection with an immediate trade stock of cans wanted by others, if they are in the right place at the right time. And return to the fun that should be the primary reason for getting into this hobby.