National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library — Friday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Nicholas “Nicho” Lowry — president of Swann Auction Galleries in New York City and well known for his appearances on Antiques Roadshow — will serve as the celebrity auctioneer at this year’s Brewnost event at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. The fundraiser begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 (the NCSML will be closed during the day to prepare for the big event).
Lowry — whose father left Prague in 1938 and who moved to Prague himself in 1990 for four years — visited the NCSML in late 2016. The occasion was the opening of “Travel Posters from the Lowry Collection,” an exhibit of 30 Czech travel posters selected from the Lowrys’ collection of more than 1,000 such posters (the largest collection outside the Czech Republic).
“I saw the museum for the first time,” Lowry said in a phone interview, “and I thought it was fantastic.”
While at the museum, he learned of BrewNost and thought he might be able to help, “given my love for all things Czech and my love for a good beer.”
BrewNost will, as always, feature international beers selected by Doug Alberhasky of John’s Grocery in Iowa City. Seven local breweries and 16 area restaurants will also be represented. Live auction bidders will have seven premium packages on which to bid, including a luxury trip to Prague. A silent auction will be held in addition to the live auction.
Lowry has an image of what a Midwestern auction might be like. “There is an irony that is not lost on me,” he said, “that I’m coming to the heartland,” home to ofttimes amazing rapid-fire auctioneering. “It may be the dictionary definition of hubris.”
But Lowry won’t be attempting to replicate that approach. “My style is very much entertainment,” he said. “A combination of stand-up comedy, communication, soft persuasion and entertainment.”
He’s confident this approach will open some wallets at BrewNost. “If people are having a fun — and are a little drunk — and are at an institution that means something to them, good things will happen for the museum and for them.”
Lowry calls the event a “confluence” of his love for Czech culture, travel posters, beer and benefit auctions. “If I can help the museum, that means a great deal to me.”
Tickets to BrewNost are $60 per person in advance for regular admission and $70 on the day of the event. Various enhanced opportunities are available as well at higher price points.
Designated driver discounts are available at the door for $45; designated driver admission includes food tasting and non-alcoholic beverages. Free taxi rides (up to a 20-mile radius) will be available 8:30-10 p.m.