According to Wikipedia, “breweriana” commonly refers to any article containing a brewery name or brand name, usually in connection to collecting them as a hobby. This weekend, the annual Spring Thaw Brewery Collectibles Show packs more breweriana than you can shake a tap handle at (in this case, likely an antique, rare or otherwise vintage tap handle) for three days at the Park Inn in Mechanicsburg (5401 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg).
The event was the brainchild of York County native Jeff Lebo, who himself lays claim to arguably the largest beer can collection in the world. At the time Fly interviewed Lebo in our March 2012 issue, his collection numbered upward of 82,000 cans from around the world and dating as far back as the sudsy stuff has been packaged in aluminum. It’s all on display at a two-story, 6,500-square-foot structure filled floor-to-ceiling with cans and brewery memorabilia on his wooded property outside of Harrisburg.
Spring Thaw, then, is an obvious extension of Lebo’s intrigue, providing a common ground for breweriana collectors and beer historians to gather, trade, sell, drink and otherwise nerd out on the aspects of beer that even the most ardent craft beer nerds dare not even touch.
Last year, the show moved to its new Mechanicsburg location (it was previously held at the Clarion Inn in New Cumberland) to accommodate a record-breaking attendance. And this year’s event is likely to see an even larger showing, with a trade floor big enough to hold upwards of 225 tables for collectors and dealers to showcase their antique advertising and signs, beer cans, tap knobs, vintage brewery items, neons, steins, mirrors, bottles, openers, labels, coasters … you get the point.
The weekend wraps up on Saturday with a dinner at Appalachian Brewing Co. in Harrisburg followed by tours of Lebo’s house to view his collection which includes more than 86,000 beer cans.
Also featured at the Park Inn is the annual Crownvention. True to its name, the event takes a hyper-focus on crowns – breweriana-speak for what us common folk call “caps.” We’re talking millions of crowns here, from beer to soda to anything else that has ever been bottled and crowned. Take a look at the Crownvention database for an idea of just how many crowns that really is. (Hint: It’s a lot.)