NEIL Thomas grabs his calculator and does a few quick sums.
"If I have 17,000 beer cans on display here and I've collected them over 38 years, then that is equivalent to me drinking about 8.6 cans every week, which is a bit over one can per day," he says.
"I'd say I've probably drunk that amount over the years, and maybe some more."
If you claim to have Australia's only beer can museum - at The Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Farm Museum in Echuca - then of course you drink the stuff.
But Neil has not consumed all his collection.
There are some truly rare finds among his wall-to-wall cans, which he has gathered from swapping and buying, from fellow collectors, clearing sales and antique shops. About 40 per cent of the cans are Australian. Neil says the Australian Beer Can Collectors Club every few years releases a top 100 of the most collectible items. "I have 97 of those 100, and the three I haven't got are just minor variations," he says.
Number one on that list is a 1950s West End XXX, the only one believed to exist. "It was a trial can and the only one to have survived. A guy donated it."
One of his most precious finds is a Coronation ale from 1937, which was made to commemorate King George VI's ascension to the throne.
"There's only six of these known to exist," he says. "There's a book being written about this can. It's only the third or fourth can ever made in the world and was the first limited edition and the first with a date."
Other local beer cans include a full set of football stars showing one player from each VFL football club in 1972, as well as the Cascade cans for the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race from 1977.
Neil and his partner Andrea moved to Echuca 10 years ago. He put his energies into the museum, which he now opens on weekends, public holidays and school holidays only, or by appointment.
They bought 2ha and aside from the shed housing the cans, they've also added accommodation and this year the farm museum, which includes a blacksmith's workshop, milking shed, shearing shed, saddlery, drovers wagon, and a full set of Furphy water carts.
"We decided beer cans and paraphernalia alone was not interesting to the general public," he notes.
"Because I'm a city boy who fell in love with the country, I decided to develop the farming side of the museum, even though I don't have a farming background.
"It's become an obsession for me. If I see something I want, I buy it, but only quality stuff, not just anything."
At the end of the day, Neil enjoys a cold can of VB, Carlton Draught on tap, and if at a restaurant, Boags Premium.
He says his favourite beer "is my next one".