No question, Frank Casciani has a weakness for collecting. At first, the man from Saarland, Germany could not get enough model cars. Together with his wife, Casciani also has a huge collection of teddy bears. Now finally the 50-year-old has collected everything he could get from the breweries in Saarland: a beer mug at a flea market here, an ashtray from the Internet there, Frank collected and collected. When he decided he wanted to open a cellar bar with the collector’s items, Frank quickly realized that there would not be enough room. “It got a little out of control,” he says, laughing. This laid the foundations for his museum because for Frank the next step was clear: he bought a property to create space for his brewery rarities, as he wanted to make his collection public. “Every collector secretly dreams of his own museum.”
In 2010 Frank Casciani fulfilled this dream – and founded “Schalander – Museum for Saarland brewery culture” in Eppelborn, Germany. The diverse cultural heritage of the last 13 large breweries in Saarland is the theme in the compact premises: glasses, jugs, ashtrays, enamel signs and much more from the past 120 years. A total of 3,000 exhibits revive the memory of old bars and guest houses. Frank also advertises for his museum with a real rarity: namely with “Erna”, which he lovingly selected. Who is Erna? Frank’s Mercedes-Benz classic, of course. Because the collector’s other passion is old vehicles.
In 2014, Frank had been looking for a vehicle that was to be an advertising medium for the museum. And it had be rare, as you would expect from a collector. Frank wanted a Mercedes-Benz van. “I was really interested in the history of Mercedes-Benz and their well-maintained club culture.” On the Internet, he finally came across Erna, one of the last Hanomag-Mercedes L 207s, which was produced in Bremen until 1977. With almost 73,000 kilometers, Erna can tell some stories. But now she seems to have found her place, for Frank Casciani the Mercedes-Benz van fits like a glove: When Frank and Erna go on the road to a classic meet, it attracts attention and people turn their heads – exactly what you need from a brewery museum advertising van. “The L 207 runs as it did on its first day,” says Frank, who also likes to wear the traditional prince of Saarland costume.
Not only does he use his Mercedes-Benz classic for advertising purposes, but also for transportation and moving. “The van is a faithful servant,” he says. Frank is keen to revive past traditions with his passion because apart from the fulfillment of his collection, the brewery museum also has a cultural significance. Aside from the coal and steel industries Frank considers breweries to be an essential part of the culture of Saarland. “The guest houses and bars were finished with the help of the breweries and the first football games on television were only possible with these guest houses,” remembers Frank. With the integrated brewery in the museum, he wants to revive this culture and create a place of personal interaction – with good food and fresh beer on tap. “With the museum I want to show just how good the good old times in the guest house really were. You met more often, spoke more together, everything was more personal than today.”
Many guests often come to us a second time and are thrilled again and again, about the rarities we have dug up and given new life.
The bar room of the brewery is also the name given to the museum, because today “Schalander” is also the name the given to the beer tasting room in a brewery. The museum is financed exclusively by the entrance fees and drinks sold in the brewery. All the exhibits were collected individually. Sources are other collectors, flea markets or internet providers. “Our museum is a small trip down memory lane, you see things here that you only know from Grandma and Grandpa,” says the passionate collector proudly. “Many guests often come to us a second time and are thrilled again and again, about the rarities we have dug up and given new life.”