Beer here! Collection is a toast to bygone brews and breweries

Jim and Ruth Beaton collect beer memorabilia, or “breweriana,” which they display in three rooms on the lower level of their home in Bloomington.

Written by Kim Palmer for

When collectors from around the country converge in the Twin Cities next week, a group of them will visit a museum together. Not the Weisman or the Walker, but a basement in Bloomington.

All the artifacts share one theme: beer. The “curators,” Jim and Ruth Beaton, have been collecting for almost four decades and are members of four national beer-collectible organizations, including the American Breweriana Association (ABA), which is holding its annual meeting June 8-12 in Bloomington.

“When the big shows are in town, we invite them over for an open house,” said Jim.

Visiting the Beatons’ basement really is like visiting a museum, said Otto Tiegs, the ABA’s immediate past president. “It’s big, but what makes theirs really nice is the historical value, and the way they’ve saved the beer memories and mystique.” The Beatons have items representing the big local brewers, such as Hamm’s and Grain Belt, but they also have many artifacts from obscure breweries, such as Kiewel’s of Little Falls, Minn.
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