The ‘love of brewing’ binds club members

No, this is not a boozing society! If you’re not familiar with the term “Breweriana”, learn what these folks are collecting, right here …

Part of Norman Irby’s breweriana collection is this Busch “beer chalk” and stein.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As we walk into the springtime gathering of the Cascade Breweriana Association, we can’t help but think, “Beer, beer everywhere, and not a drop to drink!”

The tables in the VFW Hall on SE Fern Street are laden with beer labels, signs, tap handles, steins, posters, and T-shirts, as the association’s quarterly swap meet gets underway.

We learn the members of the Cascade Breweriana Association, which was founded in 1978, are dedicated to the collection, the history, and the enjoyment of beer-related items.

Norman Irby, vice president of club, said, “Our swap meet draws people from all over the Pacific Northwest. In fact we have members here today from the Rainier club in the Seattle area. Most of our people are from the greater Portland area, but collectors come from as far away as Eugene.

There are about 125 members in the local club, said Irby. It’s a regional chapter of the national Brewery Collectibles Club of America.

“I collect a lot of different types of things,” Irby stated. “I first started with steins. But I’ve since gotten more into collecting beer chalks.”

A beer chalk, he explained, is a figurine representing the logo of a particular brewery.

Rich Horrocks shows a rare Bohemian Beer stein once produced by Stroh’s Brewing Co. from Detroit, MI.

A full-time hobby
“I’m from Milwaukie and I ought to know,” said Rich Horrocks with a smile, “but that’s spelled with an ‘ie’ on the end.”

Horrocks, a long time member of Cascade Breweriana Association and a board member of the national association, said this is a “full-time hobby” for him, and that he started collecting beer cans in 1963.

“No, I wasn’t old enough to drink then, but my dad emptied out a lot of cans for me. Then I sold the beer can collection and got into breweriana – posters, lighted signs – it can be anything related to the promotion and marketing of brewed beverages.”

Breweriana, Horrocks told us, is a hobby that brings out the best in people. “It’s a lot of fun to intermingle and see the collectios. One might collect Rainer; another might collect Blitz, or breweriana from the microbrewers.  We try to help each other, and pick up different items that other members would enjoy.”

As he picks up items from his table, and tells about their origin, Horrocks handles each piece of breweriana as if it’s a museum piece. “You just got to love it, huh?” he says with a wide grin.

Amid a sea of bottles (mostly empty), visitors Steve and Alva Johnston say they drove from Hillsboro to inner SE Portland to take a look at the breweriana collections. “We’re having lots and lots of fun,” Steve says.

You’re invited!
The Cascade Breweriana Association holds four swap meets each year, where anyone can buy, sell, or trade all of beer-related items, Horrocks said.  “We have an award-winning newsletter that we send out before each meeting.  It has articles on local brewing history, rare collectibles, and memorabilia.”

The local club doesn’t have a web site, but for more information,  CLICK HERE.

The membership dues are just $12 per year, he added. If you’re interested, give Horrocks a call at (503) 653-0312 for more information.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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