Breweries figured out a long time ago that canning beer protects the liquid inside from two of its natural enemies: light and oxygen. Cans are completely opaque, like kegs, and do not let beer become light-struck. A good can tightly seals up the product in its package to keep the carbonation in and oxygen out. Add in the ease of recycling and the lower costs to store and ship aluminum cans, and the case for using cans is even stronger.
Next to draft beer in kegs, bottles are the other preferred package for the craft breweries. Bottles with a tight crown (bottle cap) protect beer from the air very well; however, glass only diffuses ultraviolet light to varying degrees. Clear bottles do not protect beer from UV light at all. Green bottles diffuse more light than clear, but aren’t as protective as brown bottles. Thus, brown bottles are the most common type of glass container used for packaging beer.
Although the can is undeniably better for beer, the aisles of most craft beer stores are still filled with six-packs of brown bottles. The reason stems from an issue of brand identity rather than functionality. After craft beer became a distinct category from macro brews, craft breweries worked to set themselves apart from canned domestic lagers that filled the beer coolers of liquor stores by using bottles. The marketing tactic worked, and many microbrew and craft beer fans began to believe canned beer equaled cheap beer.
Over the last few decades, things have changed. We now have better aluminum for food and beverage safety. We have sophisticated infrastructure for beer distribution and for recycling programs. In addition, we also have more safety rules and policies such as NO GLASS. Golf courses, disc golf courses, pools, campgrounds, waterways, and music festivals more often than not have “No Glass” policies. So how’s a guy or gal supposed to have a craft beer? CAN IT.
Cans have rounded the corner to become the new cool package for craft beers. As summer rolls out, you’ll see more and more canned crafties in stores.
Cheers to summertime and refreshing, tasty beer.
To see what’s on deck this summer for us over here at The Beer Dabbler, visit us on the web at thebeerdabbler.com
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Until next time, be nice to each other and have a beer together.