On September 8, I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual CANvention of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America. While I was there, I met Alan Paschedag, who is the front man for the BCCA's effort to establish a museum of brewing. Their website is here.
I think the United States might be the only western country that does NOT have some sort of brewing museum -- at least nothing professional. That's a shame. One thing I learned when I research the beer book was that much of this nation's brewing history (like so much else of our history) is lost to us. Records have been destroyed. Breweries demolished. There's no archive of brewing records (see the point about destruction of records.....)
It's too late to save our nineteenth century brewing history. But I'd love to see brewers and beer fans step up and try NOW to save the history of microbrewing. It's not too early to think about it. Many of the founders of the brewing "revolution" are in their 60s. It's time to save their stories (which I tried to do in AMBITIOUS BREW) -- and to provide a place where they can donate their records and files.
The members of the BCCA have made a bold first step in that direction. They've arranged to lease, rent-free, three stories of space in what was once the Lemp Brewing complex in St. Louis. They've also hired a museum design firm to draw up plans for a proposed museum and to create a presentation portfolio. I admire their resolve and their courage.
What's needed now are donors. I hope -- truly hope -- that some of the micro- and regional brewers can be persuaded to fund the next step. Can be persuaded to provide the seed money that will make the BCCA's vision a reality. Beer needs leadership -- and money! -- in order to save its own history. And the time to start is now.