Brew the years: Beer fans 'CANvention' opens in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In middle school, Dan Scoglietti rode his bike through Chicago, picking up old beer cans with his twin brother, Ed. It was an odd hobby for a pre-teen in the 1970s that turned into a lifetime pursuit.

"We'd go to junior high and trade beer cans," says Scoglietti, now 57. "Today, I do it all the time."

On Thursday, the twin brothers welcomed hundreds of other beer can collectors in Albuquerque to "CANvention," an annual gathering sponsored by the Fenton, Missouri-based Brewery Collectibles Club of America. For 49 years, the group, and its predecessor the Beer Can Collectors of America, have organized conventions celebrating vintage beer cans from brewers around the world.

Collectors came to trade, buy and sell beer cans dating as far back as the post-Prohibition era. They examined special-edition cans dedicated to NFL teams selling for only $5 to those from the 1930s going for up to $3,000.

Some collectors traded beer cans connected to the thousands of craft brewers who used complicated art to adorn their cans. Others featured Chicano images while some focused on the regional landscapes of their brewers.

Dave Gausepohl, a board member of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America, said some of the mostly empty vessels of beer are selling for hundreds, while collectors are opting to swap their six-packs with fellow fans of foam.

"I got into this when I was in the fourth grade," said Gausepohl, 54, who lives in Florence, Kentucky. "And I never looked back."

The CANvention started after collector Denver Wright, Jr. placed an ad in a St. Louis newspaper in 1969 looking for like-minded compatriots. He and a group of newfound friends met in April 1970 and put together their first gathering a few months later.

Rich La Susa, 67, of Gold Canyon, Arizona, said he has attended all but one of the gatherings. "It's more about friendships than cans," La Susa said. "It sounds trite. Cans are an avenue at collecting friends."

But sometimes the rush comes from finding a gem, La Susa said.

That's what happened to Scott Field, a land surveyor in Beaverton, Oregon. A few years ago, he was near a lake when he saw a can partially buried in the ground. He dug it out and found a 1930s-era beer can from the Manhattan Brewing Company of Chicago — a company some believe had links to mobster Al Capone.

"He was probably in jail by the time this was made," Field said as he held the rusted can. "A lot of history here."

After the swapping ends, some participants said they were going to a beer tasting to investigate the Albuquerque craft brewing scene. La Susa said he will be looking for unique cans.

___

Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

Related News

Rare Tyrannosaurus rex skull arrives at Seattle museum

Aug 19, 2016

Paleontologists with Seattle's Burke Museum have unearthed the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex that lived more than 66 million years ago, including a rare nearly complete 4-foot long skull

'Diddy' delays tour to recover from shoulder surgery

Aug 19, 2016

Sean "Diddy" Combs will be kicking off his tour later than expected after undergoing shoulder surgery

German conservatives back partial ban on face veils

Aug 19, 2016

Security officials from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc are proposing a ban on wearing the burqa and other face-covering veils in schools, courts, while driving and in other situations

Life Ponds publishes travel and lifestyle on a daily basis. We believe that Life Ponds will help to solve your problems every time you face a challenge.

Contact us: sales@lifeponds.com