Wednesday, December 10, 2014

These requests from abroad, Vol. 8: "I am sure that they will take a worthy place in a collection."

If you own a brewery or work for one, you've probably fielded numerous e-mail inquiries from overseas asking for beer labels, crown caps and the like, as destined to become the cherished keepsakes of private collectors from Catalonia to Ruritania, who've somehow heard about your brewing expertise.

To me, there is something compelling and yet haunting about these foreign requests, which tend most often to come from Central/Eastern European locales, places of longtime personal interest to me historically and geographically. They speak vividly to my inner melancholic.

Lately, I've been pasting their addresses into Google Map and seeing what their places of residence look like. After all, they can look at my business, and it seems only fair for me to see where they live, so very far away.

Александр lives in Bryansk in eastern Russia, a city of 415,000 inhabitants near the border with Belarus. Its original 11th-century name referred to "dense woodlands," which no longer exist. 

To get an impression of the huge distances as one moves eastward from "western" Europe into Russia, it is 1,268 miles driving distance from Bryansk to Bamberg (Germany), though only 238 miles from Bryansk to Moscow, the Russian capital. Here is Bryansk in winter.

Александр (okay, let's transliterate from the Cyrillic: Alexander) resides in what I'd imagine is a fairly typical neighborhood. His is the building in the middle, showing us its less attractive side.

He has a specific request.

The main emphasis is placed on crowncups. I am engaged in it since 2001. we have a very difficult to find your products. It would be very desirable to fill up the collection with your copies. I am sure that they will take a worthy place in a collection.

Unfortunately, NABC's crown caps are entirely generic, and would be of little use. As always, I wish Alexander the very best in his foraging, in spite of my inability to be of assistance.

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