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2,500 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Thousands of beer bottles lined up on basement shelves

2,500 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

by Tony Forder

Some people are collectors. They just are. But what happens when collecting takes over your life? Dave Vollmayer needs some help.

Dave got bitten by the bug. He collects beer bottles. Not cans or beer trays or any other beer-related tchotchkes – breweriana as it is called. But, having built his collection to 2,500 bottles he’s decided he wants his basement back, so he’s looking for a home for his babies, I mean bottles.

It all began innocently enough. He bought a 12-pack, or was it an 8-pack – Beers of the World. “I thought the bottles looked pretty cool, so I put them on a shelf,” Dave said.

Thus began a 30-year odyssey. Imports and microbrews which were just beginning to proliferate. He would bring bottles back from his travels – abroad or in the US. Friends would bring him back bottles for his collection.

Dave had an old briefcase he would fill with beer bottles. After 9-11 he remembers being turned away by security. “It was kind of weird pouring beer down the drain so I could keep the empties,” he said.

The collection grew…and grew. He had a carpenter come in and build shelves in his basement to make more display room. He built cabinets for display, even figured out a way to hang them from the ceiling.

His son joked that he was in more liquor stores as a teenager than after he turned 21, because his Dad was always dragging him into stores to see what they had.

“Yeah, I got hooked on a stupid little box,” Dave said. “You see one (bottle) you don’t have – you gotta have it.”

Overview of Basement lined with shelves of beer bottles

Eventually he realized he was out of space, and capped the collection at 2,500. He continued to collect but had to rotate and sacrifice some old beers for new ones. Now he wants to get rid of his collection. Friends suggested selling it on E-bay, but the logistics of packing and shipping seemed insurmountable. “Short of going down there with a baseball bat and having a good time,” he’s not sure what to do.

Ideally he’d like to find a home for his collection. Or at least some of it. Dave lives in Montville, NJ. He can be contacted at