The Can…Can? 5 Reasons to Drink Craft Beer out of a Can
Who Can? Beer Can!
It’s been exactly 83 years since beer first appeared in cans. Back on January 24, 1935, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company released cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale in Richmond, Virginia. These first beer cans were heavy steel (like a soup can) with a sealed, flat top that had to be punctured with a separate “churchkey” to create a large hole for drinking/pouring and a smaller one for air exchange.
In the mid-1950s, aluminum began to replace steel as the beverage can material of choice owing to its relatively light weight, resistance to rust and other beneficial factors. In the 1960s, a pull-style opening tab appeared on cans, eliminating the need for a churckkey or can opener. While certainly a convenient innovation, the pull-style tab had unintended consequences as the loose tabs become a widespread litter and choking hazard. In 1975, the pop-and-stay-style tab debuted and it remains the standard opening mechanism for aluminum cans around the world.
One of the most common claims in popular beer lore is that beer is superior when it comes out of a glass bottle compared to an aluminum can. This isn’t true. In fact, aluminum cans have several distinct advantages over glass when it comes to beer storage and conveyance.
- For starters, aluminum is 100% opaque and blocks all UV light from interacting with the liquid inside. UV light is detrimental to hops so while clear glass offers very little protection and brown glass offers more, metal cans offer the best.
- Contact with air damages beer. And bottles allow air exposure, albeit in very small amounts. Aluminum cans offer an air-tight seal to protect beer that even the best bottle-and-cap technology can’t match.
- Aluminum cans are one of the most recycled products on the planet. In 2016, nearly 70% of the 180 billion aluminum cans produced were recycled. While glass bottles are recycled, the amount of recoverable material is usually so low that most bottles are simply turned into sand.
- One common complaint with early metal beer cans was that the liquid could occasionally pick up a slightly metallic taste. The inner liners and coatings have come a long way since then and ensure that the beer inside the can doesn’t react with the metal. If there is any kind of side-effect these days with cans, it’s from dust or impurities settling on the outside top of the can. Hop Valley, however, exclusively uses 6-pack can carriers from Eugene’s own PakTech. These protect the top of the cans from dust, insects and rodents and are themselves 100% recyclable. And while we always (always!) recommend pouring your beer into a glass or cup whenever possible to provide an ideal drinking experience, the PackTech carriers can be cut up to create individual “lids” for your cans when needed.
- Cans offer a smaller profile and a bit more packaging efficiency compared to bottles. In real life, this means you can fit more cans than bottles of Divine Shine (or Blonde Ale or Citrus Mistress or Alphadelic or Bubble Stash or Light Me Up Lager, or…) in your refrigerator. This packable convenience, along with the fact that cans won’t shatter and don’t have separate caps to dispose of, means cans lend themselves to loading up the cooler for the pre-game tailgate, a weekend of camping or other active pursuits. We encourage everyone to #HopOutside as much as possible and cans of delicious Hop Valley craft beer make for the perfect adventure companion.
After nearly 85 years, aluminum cans for beer aren’t going away any time soon. Thanks to their convenience, sustainable nature and brilliant beer-storing features, it’s clear that the beer can, well, can.