It’s been a hard day and you’ve decided to kick back and enjoy a nice, cold beer. But don’t toss that empty bottle or can, it might be a collectible! Folks love their beer, and everything about beer. If it’s got a brewer’s name or logo, it’s collectible. But perhaps the most popular beer collectible is Budweiser.
According to Collectors Weekly, marketing and brewing have always gone hand in hand.
Anheuser-Busch released its first series of collectible ceramic beer steins in 1975, so steins became an annual holiday tradition beginning in 1980. Bud Light was introduced in 1982 as a lower-calorie version of Budweiser, surpassing Budweiser as the top-selling beer in the U.S. in 2001, “with a flurry of Bud Light signage and merchandise following in its wake.”
Now in 2020, we’re seeing ads introducing Bud Light’s entry into the hard-seltzer arena.
Collectors and sellers
Galen Lohrenz, of Pine Island, said he has many various Budweiser items for sale within Angie’s Vintage Rust at Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Winona, and the flea markets he does. Among the items are older wall sconces, neon signs, tin signs and mirrors, NASCAR Budweiser items and more.
“Budweiser items are one of the more popular beer collectibles,” he said. “I tend to look for and sell the older items, specifically those made before 1970, as there are not as many items out there, and they command a higher price.”
He has Budweiser items for sale from $2 for a beer opener to $25 for a beer tray and up to $300 for a neon beer sign. Most items are in the $20-$45 range. His better Bud sellers are beer tap handles, lighted wall sconces, older Bud beer trays and wall-hanging signs.
Lohrenz said the Budweiser Frog and Spuds MacKenzie advertising are both popular, with frog steins and Spuds lighted signs the most popular. Older Budweiser beer signs and beer taps are also in demand.
“I have two older Prohibition Budweiser Bevo beverage trays, which have pre-Clydesdale horses on them, which are quite unique and very scarce. Busch beer items are in demand, as there are not as many on the market. Especially lighted signs that work along with tin signs,” he said.
Where to find them
Lohrenz said he gets many of his items at auctions and occasionally on eBay.
“Budweiser brewerania seems to be at almost every auction lately, and when buying Budweiser items, you have to remember that there are thousands of items out there, and that keeps prices down because there is such a huge supply. So being picky when buying is important. I look for the older items to purchase or items I have never seen before,” he said.
- Chris Rand Kujath, Old River Valley Antique Mall, Stewartville: “Budweiser signs and beer trays don’t last long due to the popularity, especially with the Clydesdale. We also have a Budweiser mirror, some glasses and a vintage Budweiser jacket, blimp and more.”
- Sarah Kieffer, Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques, St. Charles: “Jim has a ton of collectible beer items — anything from neon lights, to signs, to old Budweiser boxes, mugs, bottles and cans, ranging anywhere from a dollar on up. People remember the Budweiser Clydesdale horses and Budweiser’s support to many organizations, as well as many famous people sponsored by Budweiser beer.”
- Sylvia Bauer, owner, Country Side Antique Mall, Cannon Falls: “At this time, I have a Bud Light sign for $75, several Bud Christmas mugs, Bud beer glasses and coasters. There could also be some beer cans.”