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Man who filled home with 9,000 beer cans selling the lot



  • Nick West, 58, has devoted life to collecting more than 9,000 empty beer cans
  • He turned part of his home in Clevedon, North Somerset, into a 'Beer Library'  
  • Now wife has had enough and the retired banker has put collection up for sale

By Katie French For Mailonline

Published: 04:51 EDT, 17 July 2017 | Updated: 07:18 EDT, 17 July 2017

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A beer enthusiast who spent four decades filling his home with more than 9,000 cans is now putting his collection up for sale after his wife put her foot down. 

Retired banker Nick West became interested in collecting the items when his future wife bought him a book about beer in 1975. 

What began as an innocent hobby quickly grew into a fierce obsession with the 58-year-old pouring over the internet in search for new cans. 

But now after 42 years of putting up with his unusual obsession, wife Deborah West has told him enough is enough and he has packed away the cans from his self-made 'Beer Library' in their Somerset home.  

Retired banker Nick West became interested in collecting the items when his wife Deborah bought him a book about beer in 1975. Pictured together above 
Retired banker Nick West became interested in collecting the items when his wife Deborah bought him a book about beer in 1975. Pictured together above 

Retired banker Nick West became interested in collecting the items when his wife Deborah bought him a book about beer in 1975. Pictured together above 

Mr West admitted over the years he forced himself to drink several 'disgusting' drinks a night just to add the empties to his ever-growing hoard 
Mr West admitted over the years he forced himself to drink several 'disgusting' drinks a night just to add the empties to his ever-growing hoard 

Mr West admitted over the years he forced himself to drink several 'disgusting' drinks a night just to add the empties to his ever-growing hoard 

But after 42 years old putting up with his hobby, wife Deborah West has told him it is out of control and he's agreed to pack them up into dozens of boxes 
But after 42 years old putting up with his hobby, wife Deborah West has told him it is out of control and he's agreed to pack them up into dozens of boxes 

But after 42 years old putting up with his hobby, wife Deborah West has told him it is out of control and he's agreed to pack them up into dozens of boxes 

But now the beer enthusiast who spent four decades filling his home with more than 9,000 cans is now putting his collection up for sale after his wife put her foot down 
But now the beer enthusiast who spent four decades filling his home with more than 9,000 cans is now putting his collection up for sale after his wife put her foot down 

But now the beer enthusiast who spent four decades filling his home with more than 9,000 cans is now putting his collection up for sale after his wife put her foot down 

Mr West admitted over the years he forced himself to drink several 'disgusting' drinks a night just to add the empties to his ever-growing hoard.

And when the numbers rose into the hundreds he had no choice but to convert part of their home in Clevedon, North Somerset into a 'beer can library'.

But after 42 years old putting up with his hobby, wife Deborah West has told him it is out of control and he's agreed to pack them up into dozens of boxes. 

He said: 'Around 150 to 200 new cans each year was manageable but there has been huge growth in the industry and for whatever reason people are switching to cans instead of bottles. I've already bought 650 new ones this year alone.

'Every day I go onto the internet and there are four or five new ones that I need.

What began as an innocent hobby quickly grew into a fierce obsession with the 58-year-old pouring over the internet in search for new cans 
What began as an innocent hobby quickly grew into a fierce obsession with the 58-year-old pouring over the internet in search for new cans 

What began as an innocent hobby quickly grew into a fierce obsession with the 58-year-old pouring over the internet in search for new cans 

The father-of two has spent tens of thousands on his collection and even forked out a whopping £1240 for one of the first cans produced in Britain - a half-pint of Felinfoel pale ale
The father-of two has spent tens of thousands on his collection and even forked out a whopping £1240 for one of the first cans produced in Britain - a half-pint of Felinfoel pale ale

The father-of two has spent tens of thousands on his collection and even forked out a whopping £1240 for one of the first cans produced in Britain - a half-pint of Felinfoel pale ale

He added: 'With each one a minimum of £3 each the cost is getting out of control and it's near impossible trying to keep up with them all.

'For every 20 new ones I manage to get, another 30 new ones are added to the bottom of my list.

'I'm spending three hours a night on the internet looking for new ones and I have a backlog of cans to drink.

'It sounds like a nice dilemma to have but they only have a short shelf life so at the moment they're just stacked up in order waiting to be drunk.

Mr West drafted in a separate moving truck for his cans when he moved home and even had an extension built at his old house to make room for his ever-growing collection
Mr West drafted in a separate moving truck for his cans when he moved home and even had an extension built at his old house to make room for his ever-growing collection

Mr West drafted in a separate moving truck for his cans when he moved home and even had an extension built at his old house to make room for his ever-growing collection

'I pierce two holes in the bottom and then pour the beer into a glass so the ring pull is still intact when they're on display.

'Some are absolutely disgusting because they're coming up with all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations now. Things like rhubarb flavour, they're just not nice.'

The father-of two has spent tens of thousands on his collection and even forked out a whopping £1240 for one of the first cans produced in Britain - a half-pint of Felinfoel pale ale.

Mr West drafted in a separate moving truck for his cans when he moved home and even had an extension built at his old house to make room for his ever-growing collection.

But after he and his wife recently retired from their jobs at Lloyds Bank, Nick decided enough was enough and has now officially quit his habit on July 13 - exactly 42 years after he got his first ever can.

He said: 'My wife and I retired a couple of weeks ago so our income has been dramatically reduced. We also want to downsize.

'Our children have grown up and left home now so if it was just us two we could probably go for a two or three bed house but if I were to keep going we would need two rooms to display the cans in so then we would have to look at five bedrooms.

'Also rather morbidly my wife and kids have zero interest in it and I'm not getting any younger. When I do eventually go I don't want to leave them with all that to sort through.'

Out of control: Mr West said it will be a tough process not collecting cans anymore after his first port of call on any supermarket trip was to head straight to the beer isle  
Out of control: Mr West said it will be a tough process not collecting cans anymore after his first port of call on any supermarket trip was to head straight to the beer isle  

Out of control: Mr West said it will be a tough process not collecting cans anymore after his first port of call on any supermarket trip was to head straight to the beer isle  

Sadly though, the beer enthusiast doesn't expect to get back even half of the money he has spent on his collection over the years.
Sadly though, the beer enthusiast doesn't expect to get back even half of the money he has spent on his collection over the years.

Sadly though, the beer enthusiast doesn't expect to get back even half of the money he has spent on his collection over the years.

Sadly though, the beer enthusiast doesn't expect to get back even half of the money he has spent on his collection over the years.

He added: 'I've been looking into it and the bottom has fallen out of the market so I really don't know how much I am going to get back.

'I'm not going to be able to sell all 9000 to one person so the only way to get any money out of it will be to sell them individually.

'Only a couple of hundred really have any value though. They're the older and rarer ones, the rest are almost worthless.

'Say I manage to sell 500, that still leaves me with 8500. It's been my passion for 42 years, I can't bear just to take them down to the recycling and throw them away.

'In all seriousness I'm going to have to wean myself off it. When we go shopping I usually go straight to the beer aisle to see if they've got anything new in. I'll have to change all that.

'It usually takes up about three to four hours a day but once they're all gone I'll have so much time on my hands.'

Mrs West said: 'I gave him a book just after we started going out about beer can collecting so it's possibly partly my fault.

'In the last couple of years he has had a lot of beers because of the explosion of craft beers which have now gone into cans.

'With no more space it was looking as though we were going to be the first couple to move homes for more space for cans which would have taken up three rooms.

'Thankfully however we're not. I didn't force him to get rid of them, he did it of his own will and we'll just have to wait and see how long it lasts.

'When we went to the shop the other day he didn't look at a single can so that was a huge step in the right direction.'

 

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