For years we've associated craft beer with amber bottles. With big beer being the canned beverage of choice for many, canning craft beer in aluminum wasn't a direction we expected to see craft beer going.
In 2002, however, Oskar Blues defied common practice and began canning their product. With skeptics watching and unsure of what the outcome would be, sure enough, it took off.
Fast forward to present day 2017, and it's almost a complete 180; to see a new brewery bottling "bombers" (22oz bottles) is almost odd. With breweries like Tired Hands, Monkish, and Other Half cranking out 16oz cans of goodness, they are seeing lines around the block on release days.
So why cans?
Here's 6 important reasons the industry has shifted...
Aluminum cans are noticeably lighter in weight, making freight cost and distribution a little easier on our independent breweries who work 'round the clock to keep your pints full.
Even if glass makes it through the sorting process, it still may not be recycled into brand-new bottles. In fact, only 24% of glass bottles end up getting recycled in the 40 states that don’t have bottle deposit systems. Unlike glass, cans are easily recyclable. It can be as short as a 60-day turnaround from recycling to being back on the shelves and ready for purchase.
It is somewhat common knowledge that light degrades beer. When there is zero light penetration, guess what? Your beer stays fresher for an extended period of time. Who doesn't like that concept?
4) Creates Jobs
We have seen multiple mobile canning lines go into business since the aluminum craze... leaving more square footage available in your favorite brewery and employing the folks running these mobile canning lines. There's also a need for more permanent canning lines to be installed inside the breweries themselves, meaning more truckers shipping cross country, more welders sealing them up, etc.-- all of which is helping our people stay afloat.
Let's face it, canned beer is just easier to get around. No more bottles clinking together. Yes, please! Accidentally drop a can of your beloved IPA you've been hunting for? You're probably still going to enjoy said beverage. Drop a bottle? Well, you know how that goes...
6) Tap room to go
With 32oz "crowlers" (32oz can filled onsite) taking the spotlight, to-go beer is less of a hassle. Most taprooms have only offered "growlers" or "howlers" (64oz & 32oz jugs) to go, both of which are always to be consumed within 48 hours of filling... and if not, you risk losing carbonation and the beer becoming oxidized. Crowlers, however, stay fresh for as long as 6-8 weeks. Now we wouldn't advise you hang onto your Crowler that long, but it is comforting to know you don't have to hurry up and drink.