What started out as a simple bottle cap collection has turned into a growing business for two men in Madison, Wis. Engineers Jesse Darley and Steve Latham work together in the medical field by day, but about a year ago they started a side business. Jesse’s son, Jasper, began collecting bottle caps and sought them out at summer picnics and other gatherings. He kept them in a bag until his collection outgrew the bag. He then asked his dad for a creative way to display his caps.
With access to cool tools such as laser cutters and with scrap wood from previous projects, Jesse began creating. The end project was a map of Wisconsin with holes in which the caps could be inserted. One day when Steve and his son visited for a play date, Jasper showed off his map bottle cap display. The wheels in both dad’s heads began turning and a business plan was developed.
Both men began cutting the maps on their own, but both knew that they did not want to run this business out of their basement. After partnering with a local family laser cutting business in Madison, and now in Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Mich, Beer Cap Maps offers maps of 10 countries, and all 50 states (with options for one or both Michigan peninsulas). Also available are six packs of Christmas tree ornaments of California, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and the United States.
Steve is a Kalamazoo, Mich., native, and knows good Michigan beer. However, he told me that he and his partner are early into their craft beer “awakening.”
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“One of the great things about the last year of running our company is how many people we have met and spent time with who are knowledgeable and truly excited about the world of beer. We love hearing peoples recommendations, opinions and home brewing struggles and successes,” remarked Steve.
One of the things that is most fun for these guys is seeing photos of their maps on Instagram with beers that are new to them and descriptions of why that person chose that particular beer. Beer Cap Maps can be a fun way to challenge people to expand their palates within, and beyond, the borders of their own state. Once you get your Beer Cap Map, post a photo on social media or their Facebook page.
I have both peninsulas of Michigan, my home state, and love it. I have already filled many of the holes with my favorite caps. If you have a friend who is a beer enthusiast who is hard to buy for, this just might be the best thing for them.
If you would like to win a United States Beer Cap Map (either for yourself or for a gift) be the first to email me at EricStrader69@gmail.com with the correct answer to the following question. What annual beer event did I attend on Friday, Dec. 4, in Michigan. The winner must be able to pick up their Beer Cap Map at DIY Coffee and Ale Supply in Goshen, and if you have won something recently, please give someone else a chance.
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If you would like to purchase a Beer Cap Map, visit their website http://www.beercapmaps.com/, or you can find U.S. Maps and Michigan maps at Nature Connection, located right next to the Central City Tap House, downtown Kalamazoo.