Saturday, July 30, 2011

Family Reunion

I found another good reason to attend family reunions... CANS!

We went to a reunion today.  Notice the line of coolers on the right side of the picture... open season for can hunting!!  But with a collection my size, it's getting harder to find day-to-day cans I don't have.  There were more than a dozen cans there that I already had, but I did find a few I needed.

To be honest, a couple of these cans were found on the road on the way home (Xyience and Sprite).  But still, I wouldn't have them had I not gone to the reunion.  So when's the next reunion?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Current Excitement: I Have Can #1000 in My Possession

According to my can collection site, as of this morning I have 881 cans in my collection.  In addition to those, I have at least another 150 cans that I haven't "processed" yet.  By "process," I mean adding it to my master Excel file, taking its picture, adding the picture to the website, then moving the can over to the display shelf or storage box.  On a good weeknight, I can find time to process 20-25 cans.  But some nights I don't have time to deal with any of it.  And on weekends I sometimes have time to do more cans.

So taking all of that into account, I think I will process my 1000th can this weekend or early next week.  I have the can already.  It could be any of the 150 or so that are standing in line.  But which one will it be?  I will not play favorites, I will continue to pick random cans to be processed until I hit that 1000th can. 

The lucky can will be announced here soon...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beverage Industry News

During the last couple of months I have been searching the nets for good sources of soft drink news or info about can collection general.  So if you are looking for the same thing, then sit back and let me share what I have found.

As far as news of the beverage industry, the best site I have found is Bevnet.  They usually publish 6-12 articles a day; some of it's news, some are product reviews, etc.  They have even started a video series called Bevnet TV.  They've had three episodes to date; Ep 1 - Coconut Water and Aloe Drinks, Ep 2 - The Emergence of Chia Drinks, and Ep 3 - C20 Coconut Water.  They also have a digital magazine they publish every few months called Beverage Spectrum Magazine.

And speaking of magazines, I also found Soda Spectrum Magazine.  They offer a print version and you can buy all the back issues in PDF format on a CD for a reasonable price.  I bought the CD and told myself once I finished reading those issues then I'd subscribe for the new issues.  But I'm not even close to finishing the 50+ issues that came on the CD!!

And if you're looking for some good websites, I've added some good ones in the links section on the right of this site.  There are plenty of other sites I've found, but those seem to be the ones I frequent the most.

And with that info, have fun learning about the beverage industry. And if you know of any useful sites I haven't mentioned, please leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pepsi Jazzed Up

In 2006, Diet Pepsi came out with three flavors of their new variant called Jazz; Black Cherry and French Vanilla, Caramel Cream, and Strawberries & Cream.  The cans used the 2003 Pepsi logo. 

I had never heard of Jazz until I saw the three cans in a seller's collection on eBay early last month.  I was already buying some cans from him, so I added these three to the list.  I wish I could have tasted them, the flavors sound interesting.  But alas, Pepsi Jazz was discontinued in 2009.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cans from West Virginia

We got back from our West Virginia trip yesterday.  Last night I took pictures of the cans I collected while in West Virginia.

Older cans

The picture above shows the cans I got from my dump diving experience on a mountain.  You can read about that here.  I also have about a dozen more cans I found in the dumps that I'm not sure I can restore, so they are not in the picture.

Newer cans
The picture above shows the cans I got from shopping or grabbing the cans people were drinking around the house. 

Overall I would have to say it was a fruitful week with almost 100 cans added to the collection.  Now where are we going on our next vacation?

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Coca-Cola Mecca

There is a house in West Virginia I've been watching for the last few years when we visit the area.  Each year there are a few more Coke items in the yard.  This year's most obvious addition was the giant black Coke bottle.

I wanted to stop to talk to the couple that collects the Coke memorabilia, but they own the pizza parlor in town and were always at work when I passed by their cola mecca.  We were passing by yesterday when we stopped to get a few pictures from across the road.  That's when I posed for the Golden Refreshment picture below.

Maybe next year I'll be able to meet them and see how real soda fanatics grow their collection.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red Bull Cola to Be Discontinued

8.4 oz Cola
I read an article earlier today that Red Bull is discontinuing their Cola and Energy Shots to refocus efforts on growth of their core brand.  This news doesn't affect me because I don't drink any of it any way.  In fact, I wasn't aware that either of those products existed.

But while at Big Lots in Williamson, WV, this afternoon, I saw both the Red Bull Cola and Energy Shots.  Knowing they aren't going to make any more, I went ahead and bought this 8.4 oz can of Cola for $.50.  I should have bought the Energy Shot for $1 but I didn't.  So I now have a can that will soon no longer be available.  Yay.

12 oz Cola
July 29 Update - I went to a local Big Lots this evening and found this 12 oz can of Red Bull Cola for $.75, so I bought it.  They did not have the energy shots, so I'll keep looking for those.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dump Diving on a Mountain

An exhaustive day for sure!  Sweating in the heat, swatting at flies and gnats, peeling the spider webs off my head, slipping down damp inclines, tripping through the thick underbrush, avoiding poison ivy, splashing through shallow creeks and putting up with the smell of garbage.  I loved my first real can hunt!!!

Old creek bed near a dump site
My wife's relatives live in the mountains of western West Virginia.  Along many of the one-lane rock and dirt roads that wind up and down the mountains are small areas where people in cars, for many years, have pulled over to throw out their garbage, creating small dumps along the roads.  And these dumps were our destination.

Small dump site
The first area was down a steep incline where a creek had cut a small valley along the side of the mountain.  The foliage was very thick and I soon wished I had brought some boots.  I also wished I had brought some gloves and a shovel to dig through the layers of trash bags and mattresses and junk that covered the ground.  I found many cans in these dumps, but most had rusted to the point it was either hard to read the labels or the cans just fell apart.  But the cans that were still inside trash bags or buried deep in a pile were still intact.  I also need to take bigger bags to collect the cans, my three Walmart bags were soon overflowing.

Old cemetery at the top of the mountain
We moved on to a second, third and even fourth dump area until we finally reached a very old cemetery at the top of the mountain.  I was the only one of the eight in our group really having fun, so we called it a day and went home for refreshments and a good cleaning.

The cans I found ranged from modern Mtn Dew and Pepsi cans to old pull top steel cans.  Several cans I found were RC Cola circa1977 and 1978 from their baseball player sets, but they were too rusted to bring home.  Some of the steel 7 Up cans I did bring home are from the 1970's.  I'll have to try to date the others when I get them cleaned up.

I took the picture below after we got home from our WV trip.  I rinsed the cans slightly to get the mud off, but I still have to try to remove dents and really clean up the cans.  In addition, I have about a dozen cans not pictured that I'm not sure I can save.  And there were a couple dozen that I just left at the dumps, they were too rusted to bring home.  And I'm sure there were many more cans there because without the proper gear/tools I wasn't digging too deep.  So next time I will be better prepared and come back with even more cans!

Some of my loot

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Tale of Ales

Ale 8 and Diet Ale 8
We made the trek from southern IL to western West Virginia today.  It's not a long drive, about 9 hours.  We stopped at a Marathon gas station in Mount Sterling, KY, for gas and bathrooms.  After filling up the van, I strolled inside to see what sodas they offered.  And that's when I saw Ale-8-One, the first brand I had seen on the trip not available in my area.  And next to it was Diet Ale 8.  I checked the single cans but they didn't have any Ale-8-One.  It was only available in 12-packs.  And I was not going to buy a 12-pack just to get a single can for my collection, so we finished our business and left.

 When we arrived in West Virginia, my brother-in-law said he had a present for me.  We walked to their car and from the back seat he pulled out a single can of Ale-8-One and Diet Ale 8.  They had also stopped in Kentucky for gas (the previous night) and their station sold the cans singly, so he bought one of each for me.  My father-in-law said that brand is only sold in areas around Kentucky.  So I had got my cans of Ale-8-One after all.  By the way, the name of the drink is a play on words of "A Late One."  Clever.

And how did I repay my brother-in-law for the cans?  I bought a can of Rockstar Cola energy drink (which he had mentioned he likes) and after he drank it, I kept that can too for my collection.  We all came out ahead in the deal.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Current Excitement: West Virginia Cans

We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for West Virginia to visit some of my wife's family.  We'll be there almost a week.  And it's a true vacation where we lie around and relax, watch TV, read, etc.  It's a place where we give no thought to schedules, deadlines, bills or bedtimes.  But this year I will make my rounds at the small mom & pop grocery stores to see what kind of sodas they stock.  I mostly expect the same big names we have here (but with their own regional promotional cans), but there may be a local soda or two to be found.  We do have limited internet access there, so I will post if I find anything interesting.  Otherwise this site may be quiet for the next week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Cache of Cans (part 3)

I have made two previous posts about a cache of cans I found by a garage in town (post 1 from May 17 and post 2 from May 21).  This is an update about my latest visit.

A couple of weeks ago I finally ran into the guy whose recycle pile I've gone through a couple of times.  I told him about my can collection and he told me about his, except he turns his in for money.  So we now have an arrangement that I can go by any time to look through his pile for any cans I may need.  I told him I would replace any I take (although he wasn't too concerned about that). 

So last night after work, I stopped by to see what he had.  I know he recently cashed in all the cans I had gone through before, so pickings were a little slim this time.  He only had a couple of trash cans full.  This time I didn't dig too deep, I didn't go through every can as I did last time because the mosquitoes were horrendous.  But I was able to find five cans in the five minutes or so I was there. 

My plan is to visit the cache at least once a month. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New 8 oz "Trim" Cans

There is a new can size coming to the beverage world, the 8 oz "trim."  Ball Corporation will produce the can, which will meet the newly recommended guidelines from the USDA that says 8 oz is the maximum serving size for beverages sold in schools.  The can is small, lightweight, unbreakable, quick-chilling and 100% recyclable, ideal for juices and other beverages.  The new size is a shorter version of Ball's current 8.4 oz can.  For reference, the standard Red Bull cans are 8.4 oz.  Ball will continue to make the 8.4 oz cans along with its popular "shorty" 8 oz squat cans.  I'll be watching for the new cans and will post pics of my first 8 oz trim can.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just Relax, Mon!

As I drive, I see a lot of Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Coke, Pepsi and other big name soda brands lying along the sides of the road.  Occasionally I'll find a less popular brand such as Summit, Big K or A&W.  But it's a rare occasion that I find a brand I've never heard of before.  But yesterday, that happened.

After watching for cans and finding none along my one-hour commute to work, I made a discovery across the street from my job's parking lot.  I almost passed it up thinking it was an alcoholic drink, but after stopping and studying the label, I found no mention of alcohol.  So it was mine!

This was my first Marley Beverages drink, something called Marley's Mellow Mood.  Yes, this is THE Bob Marley.  The warning on the label reads, "This product may cause drowsiness.  Do not exceed 2 cans daily, consumed several hours apart.  Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after consuming this product.  Do not mix with alcohol."

This is an all natural relaxation drink which reduces stress and relieves tension.  If I didn't already need a nap on Saturday afternoons, this sounds like it would be a good way to wind down on the weekends.  Maybe this is for those people who get through the week by slamming down energy drinks.

Regardless of who it's for, I'm glad I found the can.  New brands are always welcome.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Energy Drinks, Coffees and Teas, Oh My!

As stated in a previous post, I only collect cans of non-alcoholic drinks and that's because I can't collect every kind of can out there.  Alcoholic or non-alcoholic is a black-and-white issue.  If I said "no teas," then what about Ohana which is distributed by Faygo?  I collect Faygo cans but do I say only some Faygo cans?  And Monster Energy has a line of coffees and tea, so do I only collect some  Monster cans?  So to make things easy, I collect all cans that are non-alcholic.  I even have a V8 12 oz can.

Which leads to this post.  Last night I decided to get out my boxes of cans that are taller than the standard 12 oz size, which usually means energy drinks, coffees and teas.  When I set them out I was a bit surprised.  There were only 75 cans.  In a collection that has reached 750 cans, only 10% are taller than 12 oz cans.  It seems like I pick up teas and energy drinks quite often, but apparently not as often as I thought.

Energy drinks, coffees and teas
Going the other way and looking at cans smaller than 12 oz, I only have a couple dozen 8 oz cans.  The next two sets of shelves I build will be smaller than the previous shelves I built.  One set will be for the cans pictured above (larger than 12 oz) and the second set will be for the small 8 oz cans. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shasta Week

I was on vacation from work Monday, June 27, through Wednesday, June 29.  A guy I work with was on vacation from Thursday, June 30, through July 7.  So we didn't see each other for two weeks.  He knows about my collection and has brought a few cans to me.  And with that background out of the way, here's the story.

When I returned to work from my vacation on Thursday, June 30, there were two Shasta cans sitting in my desk.  I knew they were from him, he had mentioned his daughter liked Shasta.  I have a lot of old Shasta cans, but these were my first ones of the current design (cream soda and kiwi strawberry).

When I met someone from Craigslist to buy their 7 Up "United We Stand" collection this last Wednesday, there was a Schnucks across the parking lot.  So I ducked in there to look for AriZona tea cans I am missing.  They had no AriZona tea in cans, but I did see the Shasta section.  And they sold them individually for $.27 each.  What a bargain!  So of their selection, I chose ten that I didn't have.  That was a big Shasta score! 

And when my co-worker returned from his vacation two days later, on Friday, he brought me three more cans of Shasta (grape, black cherry, and tiki punch).

Current Shasta flavors
Fifteen new cans, thus ended Shasta Week.  What will this week bring?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I Almost Lost at the eBay Game Today

So I've been watching an eBay listing for cans (go figure) for the last several days.  I didn't want to bid too early, that would make my opponents aware that they had competition.  So I waited until today, until the last hour, actually until two minutes left and then I made my move.  I figured two minutes was a good time to surprise the others, let them know I was in the game.  IF they were well-prepared, they could come back with a higher bid.  Or if their max bid was already higher than what I bid, the ball would be back in my court.  Two minutes should be enough time to see their move and leave me enough time to counter it.  So I typed in my bid at T-2:00 and hit the BID button.

That's when I panicked.  I got a message that said this seller required a PayPal account to be linked to the buyer's eBay account.  Couldn't the system see how many purchases I have made on eBay using PayPal?  Ok, maybe there was a glitch. I logged out of eBay, closed the browser, and faster than a speeding locomotive, opened a new browser, popped back into eBay, logged in and found the listing at T-1:00.  I placed my bid again and got the same message.  I'm not sure why, but at this point of near defeat, I fell back in my chair and thought, "I might as well be sitting on a penguin watching Santa bake cookies."  Again, I'm not sure why that popped into my head.

"Please don't sit on me"
I considered sending a message to the seller, "I wanted to buy the cans but I was having technical problems, can we do it outside of eBay?"  But there was already a bid, so then I considered contacting the seller and offering $2 more than the other offer.  Haha, but all jokes aside, time was still running out.  Luckily, there were no bidding wars going on.

I composed myself, entered my bid yet again, and this time when I got the message I noticed a button at the bottom of the screen that said "link your account," so I pressed it.  It went to PayPal, I logged in, I clicked the LINK button, it said I was successful, I clicked on "back to eBay" and ended up back on the listing page with twenty-three seconds left.  I calmly entered my max bid at this point, there was no time left for haggling, I had to shoot straight to the maximum amount I wanted to spend and hope for the best.  The page refreshed and I watched the counter tick down from 7-6-5-4-3-2-1.  I won the auction.

No one else cared about those cans.  That had been the most intense bidding war against myself I have ever been in!  And now my accounts are linked, so I shouldn't have to go through that again.  And now I will reconsider my Two-Minute Technique.  Things can go wrong in two minutes, maybe I should allow for a little more cushion when bidding.  Such a fun game to play.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Current Excitement: Japanese Cans

When I began collecting, I told someone, "I'm only interested in contemporary cans from here," contemporary meaning aluminum cans from the last ten years and from here meaning from the United States. 

The first part of that statement to change was contemporary.  That changed when I found an eBay listing for 132 steel cans from the 70's and 80's.  I won the auction and thus began collecting "older" cans, meaning cans I was familiar with while growing up.

The second part of the statement to change was from here.  That also changed with an eBay auction when I received a few cans from Canada in a lot I bought from northern USA.  Canada may not be as exotic of a foreign land as India or China, but it is another country.

"You're getting sleepy... you want our cans..."
While perusing eBay listings earlier this week, I saw some cans from Japan.  In shape and size, the cans are familiar, but the alluring writing on the cans and the enticing pictures and the vivid colors were very appealing to me.  It wasn't long until I found a beer can collector in Kobe, Japan, selling some lots of "non beer" cans, including a set of twelve Ultraman soda cans.  And with his offer to combine shipping on multiple listings, I couldn't pass it up.  One listing was seven cans for $7.47, another was ten cans for $5, and the Ultraman 12-can set was $19.95 (but they're from Japan!!!)  One of the listings was ending very soon, so I quickly made my decision to buy all three.  He shipped them the next day, but who knows how long it will take to get here from Japan? 

So far, I've avoided cans of any alcoholic drinks.  And it's mainly for the fact that I have to draw boundaries somewhere for this collection and that's a real easy black-and-white line, either it's alcoholic or it's not.  But after doing research on the Japanese cans after I bought them, I discovered that by "not beer," he didn't mean "not alcoholic," but "not beer."  The non-Ultraman cans I bought are Chu-Hi which, from my understanding, is the Japanese equivalent of wine coolers or similar fruity low-alcohol content drinks.  Oops. But you know what?  The cans look really good to me and no one I know will be able to understand the label to know it's alcohol.

Where will I display these cans?  The two sets of shelves I built a few weeks ago are already full and I need more display space!  The immediate solution is to display the cans I think are the most impressive and box the rest. 

And so I wait...


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7 Up "United We Stand" Set Complete

In 1976, 7 Up released a bicentennial 50-can "United We Stand" set where each can represented one of the states.  On the front of the can was a picture of the state and on the back was a strange looking design on a white background.  Each can also had a number on it, and when the cans were stacked in a pyramid in the right order (instructions were printed on the back of can #1), the back of the cans showed a large picture of Uncle Sam.  Sweet.

7 Up Illinois can
In my eBay auction adventures, a few of the lots of "older" cans I bought had some of these commemorative 7 Up cans.  I ended up with a total of 34 of the 50 cans and had no motivation to complete the collection.  First, I didn't want to have to track down each can I was missing.  And as the number of cans I needed got smaller, I figured it would be harder to find those particular cans.  Second, the cans aren't cheap.  I have seen some complete sets sell for $50 or more, but I don't want the set that badly!  And to buy individual cans can be expensive because of shipping & handling.  A can may sell for only $1 but you could pay $3-5 s&h.  Too expensive to buy 16 cans that way.

Uncle Sam wants 7 Up
...until I poked around on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago.  Was anyone selling soda cans locally?  What did I find?  A complete set of the 7 Up cans for $20.  I emailed the seller and asked if he'd take $15, he replied, "Yes."  It took a couple of weeks to get our schedules to line up, but I met him just this morning and we made the transaction.

I asked where he got them and he said he is a beer memorabilia collector and found this set at one of the conventions he attended.  He is now clearing out some space and selling some things and this is one of those items.  My plans, throw my partial set on eBay to cover the cost I paid for the complete set.  See how this works?

The cans are very dusty, apparently they sat in a garage or attic for some time, but I clean all my cans anyway before adding them to my collection.  So this weekend I'll be hunched over the kitchen sink cleaning fifty 7 Up cans from 1976.  I've had worse weekends.

Complete set waiting to be cleaned

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mtn Dew Pitch Black and Supernova

2004 Pitch Black
Mountain Dew must be a nightmare for can collectors.  They have had SO many different flavors and varieties over the years.  Two such flavors are Pitch Black and Supernova. 
2011 Pitch Black

Mountain Dew Pitch Black (grape flavored) was released for the 2004 Halloween season and then discontinued.  There was such an outcry from the fans that PepsiCo brought it back for a limited time as part of their "Back by popular DEWmand" promotion in May 2011.  For collectors, the way to tell the difference in the two releases is the first release had "Mountain Dew" spelled out in full on the label.  The 2011 label has the stylized "Mtn Dew" spelling that began in 2008. 

Mountain Dew Supernova (strawberry-melon flavor with ginseng) was one of the three candidates for the first "DEWmocracy" promotion in 2008 but was discontinued after losing to Voltage.  And now it has also been brought back as part of the "Back by popular DEWman" promotion.  It was re-released in May 2011 for a limited time. 

2008 Supernova
I have seen the new Supernova in plastic bottles, but I don't know if it's been re-released in cans or not.  There are Supernova cans from 2008.  So if anyone out there runs into either of these two flavors in cans, please contact me for I am looking for both flavors.

The above pictures were grabbed from the internet, not my collection.

July 17, 2011 Update - While on vacation in West Virginia, we went to the Walmart in Williamson today and in the soda aisle I caught sight of the elusive Mtn Dew Pitch Black and Supernova cans.  They had at least a dozen 12-packs of each, so I bought one of each.

So at this point, I just need to find the 2004 version of Pitch Black and the 2008 version of Supernova cans.

July 18, 2011 Update - Upon our return to the same store today, all of the Pitch Black 12-packs were gone.  They must really be a hot item.  I'm glad I have mine now.