Major Craft Breweries Join Canned Beer Apocalypse

By Josh Agate & Jim Cohen | April 2, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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Last year we highlighted that many craft brewers are shifting to the can revolution – it appears that this trend is gaining steam once again as the craft brew heavyweights enter the fold.  Currently, craft beer is being packaged in cans by 171 breweries in 43 states in the US. 

This year, Sierra Nevada introduced their flagship Pale Ale in a 12 pack of 12 oz cans and their Torpedo IPA in a 4 pack of pint cans.  One of the last remaining traditionalists, Boston Beer Company (makers of Samuel Adams) has confirmed reports that they are also working on developing a canned product.

To some craft beer elitists, the idea of a canned craft beer is similarly appalling as a screw-top bottle of fine wine.  There are however, significant advantages to canning versus bottling:

  • Cans provide 100% protection from light and oxygen that bottles cannot achieve.  This keeps beer fresher for longer
  • When icing down your beer, cold temperatures are transmitted across a can faster than a bottle – achieving an ice cold brew can happen in minutes
  • Cans are light weight and significantly easier to transport – this translates to reduction in shipping costs up to 35%
  • It takes a lot more force to break a can than a bottle – while this is important for the end user, it is even more valuable for distributors
  • While glass is not an accepted receptacle at all venues, cans of beer are allowed almost everywhere including beaches, rivers, ballparks, speedways, swimming pools, and concert venues
  • Aluminum cans are very easy to recycle and therefore eco-friendly

While years of perception may favor bottled beer, technology is leveling the playing field.  The can of beer that your grandpa was drinking 20 years ago has seen some dramatic improvements.  Aluminum cans in the modern day are lined with a water-based polymer which shields the beer from being exposed to metal.  For another canned improvement, turn to the brewmasters at New Belgium Brewery.  They add a small dose of live yeast to Fat Tire cans to consume the oxygen in the head space of a can.  Many blind tasters prefer the flavor of the canned versus bottled variety.

The “Canned Beer Apocalypse” was tabbed by one of its founders, Oskar Blues Brewery and they continue to look for ways to provide alcohol to consumers in canned form.  A new branch of the company has been established, Lyons Soul Distilling LLC and the objective is clear: "We're going to can some spirits".  While this project is in its infant stages, a whiskey and agave based liquor are in the works.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

Josh Agate is a staff writer for Beer Universe follow him on Twitter at @jagatelife

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