East Taunton man's beer can collection is a museum
TAUNTON, Mass.—To most people, beer cans are nothing but trash to be exchanged for 5 cents apiece at a local redemption center.
But for Taunton's Kevin Logan, they are a passion. Some are parts of history and many are pieces of art.
Logan is the founder and curator of a little-known museum in East Taunton, a hidden gem in the Silver City since 1996 that has recently received international attention for its collections of more than 5,000 beer cans from more than 50 countries. The East Taunton Beer Can Museum features the first known examples of suds served in simple metal cylinders, to some of the more elaborate designs created by modern microbreweries.
"I started as a 14-year-old kid collecting cans, after my cousin from Texas started me off with six cans of Lone Star and Texas Pride beer," said Logan, a Connecticut native. "As I went to college, I was loading my parents' basement with cans. I came to Taunton about 16 years ago and I finally had a full basement and started the museum, and named it, kind of tongue and cheek, the East Taunton Beer Can Museum."
Logan said he formed a web site for the museum that caught the eye of the Los Angeles Times, which mentioned it in a story about famous food museums. "It sort of just snowballed from there because all of a sudden I started to get bombarded with contributions from across the country," said Logan, of the museum based in his family's basement.
Logan said that a few weeks ago an Australian film crew for a documentary TV show called "Everyday Things" stopped by the East Taunton Beer Can Museum for an episode that will air sometime in the spring.
About two months ago, a marketing team from Cambridge came to research beer cans for an undisclosed large microbrewer. "They said we can't tell you who it is," said Logan, who suspects it may be the
During a visit to the beer can museum, Logan usually puts on some Oktoberfest-style music made in Germany for beer garden settings.
Logan shows people some of the first beer cans to be produced -- the Krueger's Special Beer -- which he said was originally released in 1935 during test marketing in Richmond, Va. through an agreement by the Gottfried Krueger Brewing with the American Can Company. Logan said beer cans were marketed commercially in the following years for the company's Krueger's Cream Ale and Krueger's Finest Beer, for which he also has cans.
The first beer cans required a can opener, but during a trip to the museum Logan explains the evolution to pull-tabs and then stay-on-tabs.
Logan said his favorite can is a vintage flat-top Schaefer beer can -- white and simple but with shiny, golden circles -- which he found cleaning out a basement of an elderly woman when he was young.
Logan said another one of his favorite beer cans is a Peroni beer can, made in Italy, which features a design with raised lettering.
The museum features a bevy of beer can-related art items, including a model airplane made of beer cans, a telephone resembling a beer can and a squishy stress reliever that looks like a beer can. Logan even has a can inspired by Taunton's Revolutionary War history, a Liberty and Union flag-themed can that was made for the Pittsburgh Brewing Company's line of Iron City Beer.
Logan said he enjoys trading cans with collectors -- he estimates there are between 3,000 and 4,000 throughout the country -- and added he will continue as long as his family allows it.
"It's a hobby that got a little out of control," Logan said. "But it's a lot of fun."
While Logan cannot typically accommodate requests for tours -- the museum is, after all, in his family's home -- he encourages those who are interested to take a virtual tour. For more on that, along with additional info on the East Taunton Beer Can Museum, go to www.beercanmuseum.org. Logan also encourages fans to subscribe to his "Beer Can Museum and Hall of Fame" Facebook page.