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    News / Foamy Stories

    Foamy Stories
    It’s something that goes on forever

    He’s been collecting beer memorabilia for over 40 years. We met Roman Chabierski at his apartment in Świętochłowice, where she showed us his two unique collections. We talked about the joy of collecting, the unforgettable taste of Tyskie, and why Tyskie and Książęce are his number 1.

    Published on 25.07.2022

    Photos by: Aleksander Bartecki

    About the beginnings

    I’ve always collected something. In primary school, it was postage stamps, then postcards. With time, I began to collect labels peeled off beer bottles. And that’s how it all started…

    About turning professional

    In the 1980s, I came across the “Relaks i Kolekcjoner Polski” (Relax and Polish Collector) magazine, in which I found contact data of other beer lovers. I got in touch with them, and my collecting journey reached a higher, professional level. On the back of the labels that I was receiving then, there were stamps with the addresses of other collectors. I was sending them messages and thus expanding my collection of labels, which dominated the beer collector market at that time. I had my own stamp as well and received lots of letters myself – the postman was bringing me multiple packages every day. Over time, the label collection was joined by pre-war bottles, and in the 21st century by Tyskie beer mugs and glasses.

    About switching to TY

    1989 marked my first visit at Tyskie Browary Książęce. When I introduced myself and explained what I was looking for, I was told to find Andrzej Gwiazda, who at that time was working in the sales department and – as it turned out – was a collector himself.

    Since then, I’ve regularly visited the brewery in Tychy and the warehouse, where I received new labels on an ongoing basis. One day I was even able to get to the malt house attic, where I found some pre-war items!

    About Tyskie as number 1

    The brewery in Tychy was the first one I visited. I live in Świętochłowice, less than 30 km from Tychy. Tyskie Browary Książęce is the biggest brewery in Silesia, therefore it’s natural that Tyskie and Książęce are the brands I’m most attached to.

    When in the mid 1990s I sold my label collection, I promised myself I would never get rid of my Tyskie bottles. With time, I began collecting Tyskie bottle openers as well, which now constitute an impressive collection. I never felt the need to focus on other breweries.

    About the bottle collection

    At some point, I had so many of them that the walls of one of my rooms were covered with bottles top to bottom! Today, the collection is smaller – I kept a few bottles related to Świętochłowice, where I live, and those related to Tychy, which have been with me from the beginning. The oldest bottles come from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century – from Tyskie Browary Książęce and Browar Obywatelski.

    So far, I haven’t come across any information about older pieces – neither from the internet, nor other collectors. The selection I’ve gathered includes 42 pre-war bottles from Tychy – many people claim that it’s the only such a collection. Throughout all those years, I came across three more bottles that I know of but don’t have.

    About the Tyskie glassware collection

    Today, it encompasses 700 exhibits, constituting one of the biggest collections of that type – if not the biggest. It all started with the beer mug received in 1989 at the beer memorabilia market in Tychy, which commemorated the 360th anniversary of Tyskie Browary Książęce. Over the following years, I completed the collection mainly with glassware produced on such occasions. I got completely hooked in the 21st century. Tychy-related glassware is – simply put – a bottomless pit. New items continue to emerge, just as old ones which I don’t have yet in my collection. That’s the joy of collecting – it goes on forever. Some people collect things related to small breweries, but at some point, you hit a wall and it’s hard to get something new. But with Tyskie and Książęce new things keep coming – and a lot of it. There are contests, new mugs and glasses at bars. It’s a bit more complicated with the contest merchandise, because there is basically no other way to get it – that’s the biggest challenge!

    About the taste of Tyskie

    Nowadays, due to my health, I drink beer only occasionally. I used to drink it with great pleasure, and I honestly always favoured Tyskie. The taste of that beer is deeply rooted in me.

    At one of the latest beer memorabilia markets, I drank cold Tyskie – it reminded me of the time when I was returning from my first visit at the Książęce brewery to the railway station in Tychy. I was walking across a big clearing, and right in the middle of it, between the brewery and the station, there was a sheet-metal kiosk that was selling beer. It was spring, warm, May, greenery, flowers, sun and cold Tyskie – just beautiful! I still remember that moment!

    About searching for beer treasures

    An inseparable element of my collecting passion was finding and exploring beer-related places. I’ve identified a dozen or so locations where prior to World War II Tyskie was bottled. In one of them, in Chorzów, I found war-time labels, which none of the collectors knew about – today, they’re displayed on my wall. How did I find this place? By going through address books in the archive of the Chrzów City Hall. I was looking for the names of companies connected to beer – bottling facilities or wholesalers. I wrote down these addresses and visited those places. Some of them were already renovated, but others, as the one in Chorzów, still looked exactly the same as 80 years ago.

    I’ve also visited places associated with other beers than Tyskie. 30 years ago, in one of the attics, I found labels from the tsarist times. In the old brewery buildings in Częstochowa and the bottling facility in Chrzanów, I found many old items – labels, bottle caps, and even documents. The search for beer artefacts made me feel like I was transported to the previous decades – each of the findings had its own history.

    Finding attractive old stuff was much easier before. Nowadays, it’s harder to find a real gem, just as there are less and less of undiscovered places. I do my research mostly online – I check my websites and search results every day.

    About future goals

    When it comes to old items, I have no specific goals – finding a real gem requires some luck. Very often, single unique pieces quickly find new owners – in the past, you had to contact the seller and make a deal, today all you need to do it to click “buy now”. In terms of new glassware – it’s still possible to get some. What’s difficult in that case is getting in touch with people who would like to get rid of it. There’s not a lot of it on the secondary market, and everything disappears instantly. But, as I said, that’s they joy of collecting – the constant search.

    I used to go to every beer memorabilia market in the country. From the north to the south, from the east to the west. I was looking for beer treasures at flea markets and beer-related places, which I was locating and discovering on my own. Since my wife died, I’ve been taking care of my disabled son and thus only visit the nearby markets – from Tychy to Żywiec. But one thing remains unchanged for several dozen years – every event of that type is a wonderful experience for me!

    At the end of our meeting, we asked Mr. Roman whether he’s ever broken anything from his collection…

    Currently, my collection encompasses 700 glassware items and several dozen bottles. Over the several dozen years of my collecting adventure, I’ve had thousands of glass pieces in my hands. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve never broken anything!