As Beer Can Appreciation Day was celebrated in the US on 24 January– the day on which the Krueger Brewing Company of New Jersey put the first canned beer on sale 82 years ago in 1935 – the latest figures from the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) in Washington revealed that beverage can shipments in North America in 2016 were on the up again.
The biggest increase was for shipments of cans for beer, which were up 2.6 percent year-on-year at 37.9 billion cans. Shipments of cans used for soft drinks were also up, by 0.2 percent to 56.4 billion, despite consumption of soft drinks falling.
These favourable growth rates compared to consumption trends indicate a pack shift in beverages towards cans.
Craft brewers have also embraced the beverage can’s advantages.
In Colorado, Lost Highway Brewing Co plans to move to a larger facility where it will begin canning its beers. Starting as a restaurant, Lost Highway now operates exclusively as a brewer supplying to its own local bars and hopes that the introduction of canned beers will allow it to place 60 percent of its products into retail stores.
In Michigan, Bell’s Brewery plans to launch this spring its sixth packaged beer sold exclusively in cans. The company plans to move its Oatsmobile American Pale Ale from bottles into 12-ounce cans which it will sell in six-packs. Alongside the advantages offered by aluminium packaging, Bell’s believes that cans will open the brew up to new markets where cans are more convenient or where glass may be prohibited.
In contrast, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co announced in January a 36-state recall of certain 12-ounce bottles of its pale ales, IPAs and other beers after detecting a packaging flaw that could cause a piece of glass to break off into the bottle.
More than eight decades after Krueger became the first brewer to market its beers in cans, the safety of metal packaging needs continuous promotion.