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Friday, January 21 2011

Q & A with Pete Cornils
(President of the BCCA)

When CraftCans.Com went live a little less than a year ago we had no idea where the interest in the site would come from. One group that has been very supportive has been the folks who collect beer cans as a hobby. We've had the pleasure of being in touch with a number of collectors who've provided information, photos and a mutual resounding passion for their hobby. Recently we've been in contact with Pete Cornils, the President of the BCCA (by far the largest organization for beer can collectors). In an effort to shed some light on the BCCA, and the hobby it does a great job organizing, we thought we'd ask Pete some questions. Pete, being a very nice guy, agreed to answer them for us. Cheers Pete!


(CC) Please provide a little background on the BCCA

(PC) The BCCA began in St. Louis in 1970. Originally a beer can collecting club, the name was the Beer Can Collectors of America (BCCA) until 2003. Beer can collecting became very popular during the 1970s and remains a popular and fun hobby.

the BCCA publishes a bi-monthly magazine

Now called the Brewery Collectibles Club of America, the BCCA is the premier brewery collectibles club in the world, offering a first class magazine Beer Cans and Brewery Collectibles, collectors’ books & resource guides, a website & forum, and an annual convention to its members. The BCCA’s longevity, influence, and popularity have helped establish beer-related memorabilia as serious collectibles.


CC) How did you become active in the organization and eventually President?

(PC) In 2000 I was elected to the club’s Board of Directors. I also served as its Marketing Committee Chairperson for two years and wrote for the magazine. Eventually, I became interested in helping steer the organization at a higher level and was selected to be the club’s Secretary in 2008, VP in 2009, and President in 2010.

CC) How many members does the BCCA now have?

(PC) The BCCA has over 3,500 members worldwide and is growing.


collector cans given out at CANventions

CC) What is a CANvention©? 

PC) CANvention© is an annual three-day hotel convention/trade show put on by the BCCA. Up to 1000 members and guests attend in order to have massive amounts of fun while acquiring brewery collectibles for their collections.

CANvention© includes three-days of main floor and room-to-room hotel trading, brewery tours, seminars, display contests, a craft-beer swap, an entire night of craft beer tasting, theme parties, business meetings, and an awards banquet.

CANvention© usually takes place in a different city each year and occurs around Labor Day. This year’s CANvention is in Covington, KY, September 1-3.


CC) How has the recent craft beer switch to cans impacted collectors and the hobby as a whole?

(PC) Yes, the craft beer switch to cans has had a positive impact on collectors. Craft cans are new and exciting and thus have garnered much interest among hobbyists. Both long-time and newer collectors are avidly collecting craft cans. Many hobbyists have also embraced drinking craft beer, so it’s a wonderful marriage of the two interests.

"Many hobbyists have also embraced drinking craft beer, so it’s a wonderful marriage of the two interests."


(CC) Has the BCCA worked with, or reached out to, the craft breweries that can their beers in any way?

(PC) Indeed, the BCCA implemented a “Corporate Sponsorship Program” several years ago to strengthen relationships between the BCCA and craft breweries.

There are many local craft breweries that support BCCA Chapter events. BCCA Chapters that benefit from craft brewery support will in turn sponsor the breweries’ memberships in the BCCA. They further direct their members to patronize the brewery whenever they buy beer. We believe it’s a successful symbiosis.

Although the BCCA wants to strengthen it’s connection to all craft breweries, craft breweries who are canning their beers are especially exciting for our members because of our long association with canned beer.

In addition, the BCCA maintains the most comprehensive and up-to-date craft brewery listing that you can find on the internet. 


2007 BCCA "Can of the Year"

CC) What is the "Can of the Year" award? How is it selected and have any craft cans won this award?

(PC) Since 1972, the “Can of the Year” award has been given to breweries to honor excellence in design.

Each year the BCCA’s 108 Chapters around the world nominate cans that have come to market during the past year and have appeared in our magazine. The nominees are then voted upon by the BCCA membership. The award is announced at CANvention©.

Craft cans have won every year since 2006. Keweenaw (2006), Schell’s and New England (2007), Maui (2008), New Belgium (2009) and Bayern (2010) have been the winners.


"...Craft cans have won every year since 2006."


(CC) What would you say is the best part of beer can collecting?

(PC) For me, finding a cool can for my collection creates a certain excitement. I suppose it’s like the excitement any person gets when they find some kind of treasure.

Another great part of beer can collecting is the social interaction with other collectors. Sharing beers and then trading the cans equals instant fun, friends, and camaraderie!


CC) Do you think canned craft beer is here to stay?

(PC) Absolutely. Although beer can manufacturers have been touting the superiority of cans over bottles since 1935, it now seems almost old-fashioned to assert that beer tastes better from bottles. Can advocates appear to have finally won-over the hearts and taste buds of craft beer fans!

Years ago, I think small brewers were simply priced-out of expensive packaging such as cans. But now it’s different. When you can charge $12 per six-pack, the packaging cost becomes less of a concern.


(CC) What was the last great beer you had?

(PC) A Rochester Mills IPA in a 16-ounce can! YUM!

Cheers Pete!


Posted by Russ