Dave Preston’s home has shelves lined with hundreds of amber glass bottles, each smacked with vibrant vintage labels.
In total, Preston’s collection of beer bottles totals somewhere around 600, something he touted as a “ridiculous habit.”
Preston has long-been a beer enthusiast; he used to home brew, write beer reviews in newspapers and magazines and even became a certified beer judge.
He began collecting bottles in the 1980’s when he noticed stubby bottles being phased out for long-neck bottles, and as a beer judge also received many bottles.
“You know how it is, once your friends know you collect something, that’s what you get for a gift,” Preston said.
From friends’ travels and his own, his collection grew to include international additions. Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Fiji, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Turkey and the U.S.A. are just some of the countries represented in his collection.
Bottles include unique specimens dating back to the 1950s, and labels with typos or banned imagery. One has voodoo art that was banned in Alabama, while another shows a nude depiction of Adam and Eve, also banned.
“It’s interesting because just like hair and clothes, the label styles change,” Preston said.
But now it’s time to downsize, and that means the collection has got to go.
“I’m being ruthless,” he said. “I’ve only kept a few of my favourite bottles.”
Some of his favourites include a bottle from the first malting factory he worked at and one from 1979, the year he got married. Choosing an absolute favourite for Preston, however, was akin to trying to choose his favourite daughter.
While the bottles have never been opened, some of them are partially empty due to time and evaporation. Others have questionable-looking contents that might not be worth drinking, but would do well on a shelf.
Still, many are from the early 2000’s and could very well still be palatable.
“I’m having a few friends over soon to drink some of the bottles from 1995,” Preston said. “It’s really a bit of a crap-shoot; some may be good, some may go straight down the sink.”
Preston hopes to see the whole collection go somewhere it can be displayed; maybe a restaurant or pub that could use it as decor. While he doesn’t have a hard price point, he figures on average each bottle is worth at least $1, while several are upwards of $20.
“It really isn’t about the money though. I just want to know it’s going somewhere good, so maybe I can go see it every now and then.”
To place a bid or for more information you can visit Preston’s online advertisement on Craigslist.
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