Guinness World Records houses thousands of incredible achievements — some of which are pretty familiar, like the tallest man ever (Robert Wadlow), or the richest person alive (Jeff Bezos).
Then, there are the more obscure world records, such as the most consecutive stairs climbed while balancing a person on their head (Pablo Nonato Panduro and Joel Yaicate Saavedra) and the highest archery score while on roller skates (Arjun Ajay Singh).
For Seattle-area local Ron Werner, the record in question is for the world’s largest collection of beer bottles.
Also based in Seattle, the online craft beer bottleshop, Tavour, is well-acquainted with Ron and his passions. Since the app-based retailer works with 600+ independent breweries to bring top-rated beers to members around the country, they’ve got bottles galore. Ron is a Tavour member and good friend — he stops by the company’s headquarters every few weeks to collect empty bottles and cans to add to his collection.
Naturally, we were curious to learn more about Ron’s fascinating accomplishment, so we reached out to the world record-holder to get his firsthand insights.
Turns out, if you want to have the biggest and best collection of beer bottles, you need to start early — Ron began collecting when he was just a 14-year-old boy hanging out with his buddies. “We’d hit old mountain roads and find all kinds of cool stuff,” he tells us. “I found some cool bottles and got hooked on it.” In fact, he got so hooked that it became his lifelong pursuit.
In 1991, Ron went on a cross country brewery tour, although “brewery tour” might actually be an understatement — it was really more of a national brewery indexing. Ron visited nearly every brewery open at the time, in 45 states! And, even more impressively, he did it all while driving a Honda CRX, not a car well known for its spacious interior. “It was a daily stop at the post office,” he reveals. “My mom got pretty upset with me about all the boxes I was sending back home.”
Then, in October of 1992, Ron officially snagged the title of World’s Largest Beer Bottle Collection for the first time, setting the record with a spectacular 4,246 bottles.
That sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to Ron’s current collection. Since 1992, he’s increased the number of bottles by more than 10 fold! His most recent submission for the world record clocked in at a staggering 42,645 beer bottles — and it’s still growing!
It begs the question: Where in the world does one guy keep THAT many bottles? Certainly not on a shelf above his bed, if that’s what you were thinking.
Ron’s collection spans three different storage units — two outdoor and one at his climate controlled place of work. In that one, he keeps more than 1,000 of his consumables (the beers that have yet to be drunk).
Ron himself has drunk 10%-15% of his entire collection, over the years. The rest of his empties were gifted from friends or simply poured out due to being undrinkable. But, of the 1,000+ bottles that still have beer inside, the age and varieties are truly outstanding.
Some date as far back as the early 1900s prohibition era! The oldest beers in his collection are from turn-of-the-century England — they still have their old-timey, wax-dipped cork caps. When asked why he hadn’t popped them open, he explains, “I’m curious, but I can’t bring myself to break the wax on it.” It’s a dilemma every collector has faced: enjoy your prize now, or keep it mint condition. Ron’s decided to keep his intact.
Of course, at the end of the day, Ron is a beer lover, and some things are just too irresistible to wait on. “I really enjoyed the Rêve Coffee Stout from Parish Brewing in Broussard, Louisiana,” he says a bit later. “That one was just fantastic.” Ron has bought and tasted more than 220 unique brews from Tavour, Parish’s Rêve being one of them. In addition to those, Tavour gifts Ron with an extra 66 empty beer bottles on average every month.
Ron’s end-goal isn’t just to have the biggest and best stockpile of bottles though. He confesses his true deam, “I think a curator of my own collection would be the ultimate goal. I know the Smithsonian has an American beer section now in their museum, and really, a museum setting for my collection would be spectacular.”
That museum would be spectacular indeed. In addition to 42,600+ beer bottles, Ron also has thousands of beer glasses, a dozen neon beer signs, a thousand lighted signs, 650 beer mirrors, 700 beer tap handles, and countless more beer cans.
“Everything and anything that has to do with beer.” That’s what Ron is after.
Tavour is honored to help Ron Werner continue building his treasury of beer bottles and beer paraphernalia, and to maintain his status as a Guinness World Record holder. If you ever want to try some of the brews you might find in his collection, be sure to check out the Tavour app. New and top-rated craft beers get added every day, offering beer enthusiasts a variety that’s (almost) as massive as Ron’s bottle collection.
You must be logged in to post a comment.