Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 10, 2004

LP man proud of beer stein collection

By Jenna Erickson

A collection of Budweiser beer steins is the pride and joy of Arthur Wilhelm of Lester Prairie.

Wilhelm has been collecting the steins since 1984.

The collection began when a friend and co-worker of his was collecting them and Wilhelm became interested. The two of them worked together at Minnesota Rubber.

Wilhelm knew that, as his collection grew, it wouldn’t be complete without the first two Budweiser steins ever made.

Through some connections, he found and bought both of them in Rochester at the House of Steins.

He continued to add to his collection by becoming part of Beer Can Collectors of America, which hosts a convention in St. Paul every year.

The beer can show displays all sorts of beer memorabilia. There are plenty of stands with different kinds of beer, Wilhelm said.

Other stands have displays of different styles of cans or steins at the show. There is also taste testing.

When the steins were first made, the Budweiser company made several of the first in the series. However, few sold because few people knew about them. Budweiser tried again and made a second stein in the series, Wilhelm said.

Because the beer company wasn’t sure if a second stein would sell, they made fewer.

But that stein made the collection more popular, and Budweiser ended up selling more of the second stein than the first.

Hence, the second stein is more rare, Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm keeps his steins in a special place “where people can see it (the collection), but can’t get at ‘em.”

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