Wooden Maps Show Off Bottle Cap Collections

by Zac Schultz
| October 29, 2015

Like most kids Jasper Darley likes to collect things.  One summer he started picking up all the bottle caps he found at picnics and cookouts.  “He would go up to the host and say, hey save my bottle caps,” recalls his father Jesse Darley.

His storage device wasn't very sophisticated.  “I just kept them in a plastic bag,” says Jasper.

So Jasper asked his Dad for help.  Fortunately for Jasper, Jesse is a mechanical engineer.  “We have a laser cutter at work and I just made him a Wisconsin map,” says Jesse.

The map got filled up with caps and went up on the wall in Jasper's bedroom.  Then Jesse's co-worker and friend Steve Latham came over.  “I came back the next day to work and told Jesse we should sell them, or at least you should cut me a Missouri so I can take it back home to my ah wife's family.”

Beer Cap Maps was born.  “So like any good business it started in our basement,” says Darley.

The premise is really simple.  Each map comes with holes for bottle caps.  Simply press them in and fill up the map.  What makes it work is the endless number of bottle cap designs.  “Bottle caps themselves are just great looking so thinking about putting them geographically somewhere.  You know this is this is a New Glarus beer, this is a Capital beer um this is a Lake Front beer from Milwaukee,” says Darley.

“Once you have it in your hands it's just a matter of deciding do I want to do it by region, do I want to do it by color,” says Latham.

The maps wouldn't have been so popular just a decade ago, when the number of beer choices was limited, but the craft beer movement has exploded.  “We cut our Wisconsin map and it had about 100 holes in it and we looked on line and tried to figure out how many breweries there were in Wisconsin,” says Darley.  “There were about ninety-five.  We just looked again this is a few months later and now there's 113.”

Tags: Beer Cap Maps / laser cutter / homemade map / wooden map / bottle cap collection / bottle cap display

Zac Schultz is a reporter for the "Wisconsin Life" project who thinks three-minute stories and one-line bio descriptions are woefully brief.