Resolute on starting my own collection, but being 10 and extremely underage and with limited access to the Anheuser-Busch brands in my own home, I decided the best way to build my collection would be to scour the roads after the weekend and search the various impromptu garbage dumps in the woods around our house.
Enlisting the help of my younger neighbor Jeff (we'll share the collection!) we set out every weekend one summer and by the end had amassed quite a collection of different brands and variant cans. We kept the cans in a 5 gallon drum we found at one of the dumps (and which probably previously held some now-outlawed toxin). For some reason, rather than keep the collection at either of our houses (one reason probably being that our parents would throw them out and secondly, we probably couldn't work out an equitable agreement for co-ownership), we hid the collection in our neighbor's yew shrubs.
From Blatz to Hamms to Schlitz, we collected 7 oz, 12 oz and 16 oz versions. Yet one can remained my holy grail. One my friend down the street had in his collection. The massive 25 oz Foster's Lager "oil can". Though I'd never seen one outside of his collection, they probably weren't that uncommon. They were an Australian brewer, but they had been imported to the U.S. since 1972, at least 5 years before we started our own collection. But it was still elusive and we never did find one. Then one day that Fall, we discovered our collection was gone. We blamed Jeff's brother for stealing it, but most likely it was discovered by the owner of the home where we hid them and thrown away like so much rubbish. The blow was too much and we abandoned our hobby.
Memories of those days came sharply into focus today in the garage of an estate sale where I found a box lot of beer cans, someone else's abandoned collection. Curious, I looked through the cans, some common and other not so common brands.
Then suddenly, I saw this: