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A deeper look at breweries, beer culture and the beer world

Entries in #Cannedbeer (1)

Monday
Jul082013

THE RISE AND RISE OF CANNED BEER

It wasn't that long ago that the world's best brewers sneered at beer cans. It was OK to use beer cans if you were a mass-production brewer whose beers didn't have enough flavour to be adulterated in the first place, but not for craft beers.

It wasn't that long ago that a beer can ruined the taste of a beer and, to craft brewers, that was diametrically opposed to what they were trying to do. 

But those days are changing and even the most famous craft-verging-on-volume brewer, Samuel Adams maker, Boston Brewing, is moving into cans. So what's changed?

Beer can technology, that's what. Beer cans have come a long way since they were invented in the US in 1935, when an enthusiastic drinker had to carry a tool to pierce the top twice to drain the precious nectar. (Oh, and can you name the first beer to be canned? The answer* is at the end...)

Now, the beer can revolution is here, following closely in the wake of the craft beer revolution.

Sam Adams has developed its own can to improve the flavour of its Boston Lager, US-based Sly Fox brewing has a can that lets drinkers rip the entire top off and drain it like it's a glass and even Budweiser has developed a new bow tie-shaped can, years in the planning.

“It’s a beer can, but it's not your father’s beer can anymore,” Boston Beer founder, Jim Koch, said after finally coming around to the beer can phenomenon. Koch's team has spent more than a million US dollars developing its own beer can and went through nearly 30 evolutions before arriving at the Sam Can, with its bigger hole and thicker lip. What's more, the Sam Can has been made available to other craft brewers, and they can even put their own logos on it...

Craftcans.com says that the takeup rate amongst craft brewers has gone from one craft brewer in 2002 to more than 300 today. 

Pennsylvania's Sly Fox also developed its own can, where you rip the entire lid off, for its Helles Golden Lager (widespread) and its Pikeland Pilsner (which is only sold in cans at the Phillies baseball home games).

The benefits of cans have long been known. They seal better than bottles, they are lighter and easier to transport, they can be served on planes, they don't let in light, so you don't get light-struck cans and they are less sensitive about where they are stored.

But for craft brewers, it's more important that today's cans don't ruin the taste of a beer, thanks to a water-based polymer that lines the sides and the inner lid so that the beer itself can never touch the metal.

 

 

*Krueger’s Cream Ale