By Kathy Chouteau
The beer can monolith creator (BCM)—an anonymous Richmond artist who has built a number of pyramids throughout the city often using regionally crafted beer cans—has added to his growing collection of works. His latest creations have recently been unveiled at The Factory Bar in Richmond, as well as the Ale Tales craft beer store in Albany.
The Factory piece, which the BCM creator calls the “Beer Tower,” was welcomed by the bar to its outdoor patio on Fourth of July weekend. The piece consists of 326 “odd sized” beer cans and took him a few hours to build. Those who want to see it in-person should swing by The Factory, 12517 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond, soon since the artist said it’s a temporary installment without a set takedown date.
Over at Ale Tales at 1137 Solano Ave. in Albany, the BCM creator’s “Beer Can Temple” was requested by the store and delivered by him last Saturday. All told, the artist estimates it took him approximately 40 hours to build. It consists of 1,144 beer cans plus a Pliny the Younger bottle in the tiki torch atop the piece to bring it to 1,145 total—his largest pyramid to date. He expects it to be in the store throughout July.
“It lights up at night with solar powered torches and string lights,” said the artist about the Beer Can Temple. “It cost nearly $4,000 worth of beer, had 5,184 oz. for over 40 gallons total. It was about 1/20th of a ton of beer and weighs over 100 lbs.”
According to the BCM creator, as different themes emerged while the Beer Can Temple was being built, he wanted to use an Olympia can in it—however, he had difficulty locating one at his usual haunts. “Then one day at an A’s game while tailgating, I heard a can rolling toward me from 100 yards away—an Olympia can rolled right up to my foot. It seemed like a message from God,” the artist said about the opportune moment.
The story about the beer pyramids is also a story about “how a bunch of guys coped with the pandemic,” said the BCM creator. For his most recent Beer Tower and Beer Can Temple projects, the artist collected beer cans from around February 1 through May 1 of this year, “with a lot of help from my friends.”
As other friends found out about the project, they offered their cans to help. “One woman drew this amazing artwork on the bags of cans she donated,” said the BCM creator. “It got to the point where I did a beer can pick up every other Saturday.”
“At the end of the day, it was something positive we all made out of a horrific pandemic experience,” he said about collecting beer cans with his friends for the pyramid series. “We made new friendships, strengthened others and made the best of a bad situation.”
According to the artist, “This project was [originally] inspired by the monoliths that randomly appeared in December,” referencing the monoliths that began appearing in remote areas leading up to the then-impending convergence of Saturn and Jupiter in late 2020.
As the Standard previously reported, the BCM creator then began collecting cans with friends, and eventually, created the first work in his craft beer series, the “Beeramid” in October 2020. The 178-can piece makes its permanent home at Armistice Brewing Company in Richmond’s Marina Bay neighborhood and features the craft brewery’s own beer. Following the Beeramid, the BCM creator built his highly visible, 380-can “Beer Can Monolith” atop Point Potrero the day before the Dec. 21 planetary event.
Along the way, the artist also created a smaller piece with 100-200 beer cans for Gilman Brewing, 912 Gilman in Berkeley, made up of the brewery’s own products. He hopes to add another level to the pyramid in the future.
“To my knowledge, the Beer Can Monolith has lasted longer than any other monolith that popped up in December,” said the BCM creator. “It even lasted longer than my marriage,” he joked.
When it comes to other future projects, the BCM creator plans to give Armistice another sculpture for their upcoming anniversary and he also looks to give HenHouse Brewing Company in Santa Rosa a pyramid.
Stay updated on the Beer Can Monolith creator’s developing projects here.