Saturday, November 12, 2011

Banker Spends 35 Years Collecting Beer Cans

Wife buys beer-collecting book for husband... who then spends 35 years filling their home with 6,788 cans It is the dream of millions of men to live in a house filled to the brim with beer cans.

For Nick West, that dream is a reality, even if all the tins are empty.

The Lloyds Bank worker, 51, has a collection of 6,788 British beer cans in his home in Clevedon, North Somerset.

He even forked out £1,240 for one of the first cans produced in Britain, a half-pint of Felinfoel pale ale from a brewery in South Wales.

Home brew: Nick West stands alongside his collection of 6,788 beer cans in a specially converted room in his home in Clevedon, North Somerset

His obsession stems back to Christmas 1975 when his future wife Deborah bought him a book about collecting beer cans when they were both 16.

Mr West said: 'Deborah sort of encouraged me and has regretted it ever since. She wasn't very happy when we had to move house to find somewhere bigger for the collection.

'She said that if we had stayed where we were, we would have paid off the mortgage by now.'

The West family's last home had to have an extension built to house the ever-growing collection. Their latest, in Clevedon, is a five-bedroom Victorian property.

Tin city: Mr West and his wife Deborah pose with the Beer Can Collecting book she gave him in Christmas 1975, which kickstarted his obsession

There are no prizes for guessing that the largest bedroom has gone not to Mr and Mrs West, nor to either of their children, Emma, 23, and Tom, 21, but to beer cans that are stacked from floor to ceiling.

Mr West does, however, drink the beer in the cans - although it is not simply a case of tugging off the ring pull and drinking the contents before placing the can in his collection.

He said: 'You pierce the bottom with two holes, drain out the contents, drink them if you wish, then photograph the can for your records and find it the right place on the shelves.

'Cans with widgets are a nightmare because they tend to spray their contents all over the ceiling, which isn't good.'

He began his collection with a small grey can of Heineken - brought home by his parents - and has since attempted to obtain an example of every sort of canned beer ever produced in Britain, including special offers and commemorative promotions, by scouring eBay and the internet.

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