Tuesday, April 21, 2015

These requests from abroad, Vol. 12: From Munich, a young man seeking to break the bottle cap record.


If you own or work for a brewery, 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 just about anywhere -- although it seems that most of them live somewhere around eastern and central Europe.

To me, there is something compelling and yet haunting about these foreign requests, places of longtime personal interest to me both historically and geographically. I've been in or near many of them. 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 via the same technology, and it seems only fair for me to see where they live, so very far away. Especially coming from European locales, these are images that speak powerfully to me, conjuring memories of places I've been, people I've met ... and beers I've consumed.

Say hello to Moritz, who is a resident of Munich, Germany.

It has been a decade since my last visit to Munich. Once upon a time, this would have been cause for concern, but I've been to Bamberg a few times since then, and it just goes to show how priorities change.


Moritz's residence appears to be the smudgy building in the center, which is located around eight miles from the center of town, to the northwest, just before the countryside begins. Quoted verbatim, you'll note something perhaps unusual about this request.

Dear Sir,

I am 15 years old and I am collecting bottle caps (crown caps) since four years.

Now my greatest wish is that my collection will be listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The world record is 175171 caps and therefore I am always looking for new caps to catch up and to break this record.

Therefore I would like to ask you to send me one of your bottle caps for my collection.

It would make me very happy if I could add a bottle cap of your company to my collection.

My address is: Moritz Bester, Lidelstrasse 3, D – 81245 M√ľnchen Germany

Thank you very much and kind regards

Moritz Bester

I returned Moritz's e-mail, informing him that alas, I could be of no help; NABC's bottle caps bear no logo or insignia. However, if anyone can give him a hand in his quest, please feel free.

Meanwhile, I'm not being flippant when I say: If I were to send him caps, would it constitute statutory breweriana?

After all, at this late date we're still plagued with many instance of Internet idiocy, wherein there must be an age verification process to read a web site about beer. I remember an episode many years ago when I was trying to access the Samuel Adams web site. Being slightly lubricated and butter-fingered, I managed to enter bad information and was blocked. Being me, I complained. Being them, a cyber-reply was forthcoming.

We understand that the age verification process may seem cumbersome. However, it is very important to us that we take every reasonable precaution to ensure that the only visitors to our site are those who can legally enjoy the great taste of a Samuel Adams beer. We take this responsibility very seriously, even to the extent that it may cause someone like you to become frustrated.

Not for the first time, I couldn’t resist the impulse to cast a line and see if there were humans somewhere on the other side.

Thanks for the template. Does this mean that we shouldn't allow children to study automobiles until they're old enough to drive? 

When it came, the reply was bureaucratic and humorless, so three cheers to censorship, to “reasonable precaution” in studying the history of fermentation science, and to those deep bows to the dictates of Puritanism that we feel like me must make.

Up the revolution ... and send Moritz some caps if you have some.

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