Holy Container Wars! Metal Makes a Comeback

Craft beers come in glass bottles, right? Well, that might be changing, whether you like it or not. The container wars have gone on for as long as both metal cans and glass bottles have been available, but more and more craft brewers are making the switch to metal. Why is this? Actually, there are several reasons for this shift. Only 10 years ago, there were no American craft breweries using cans. Today, there are more than 100 doing so.

One of the reasons for doing this is economic. As the recession continues to hold onto society (no matter what mainstream media might be touting), everyone has to tighten their belts, including breweries. Cans are simply more economical than glass bottles, as the material is cheaper. This allows the breweries to keep manufacturing and selling their beers at the same price, rather than raising their prices to match the increased operational costs. That's good news for beer lovers concerned about their wallets.

Another reason is that cans are safer and more portable than bottles. When was the last time you accidently dropped an open can and had it shatter on the deck? When was the last time you heard about someone breaking a can of beer over someone else's head? All joking aside, cans are safer for traveling, and they're more portable, as well.

Cans also improve beer quality, according to some brewers. Because they do not let in any sunlight, the taste of the beer is not damaged. It's also exposed to less oxygen, helping to keep the beer fresher. Finally, cans are better for the environment. While glass is recyclable, consumers are 50% more likely to recycle a can than a glass bottle. In addition, because cans weigh less, they require less fuel during shipping. 

Of course, canned craft beer still has some hurdles to overcome. Most people equate canned beer with mass-produced, inferior quality beer. This stereotype will take some time to overcome. However, high-quality craft beer can be canned and can still be just as good as what's enjoyed out of the bottle. Another stereotype that will have to be overcome is that of the preconceived notion that canned beer tastes bad. In the past, this was true, but thanks to modern lining techniques, there is no more metallic taste transferred to the beer from the interior of the can. 

Will canned craft beer be successful? With the number of breweries now heading in that direction, it certainly looks like it.

Posted on February 18, 2011 and filed under Design and Packaging.