Beer in a Can and its History

27/05/2013 22:50

Beer has been around for many millennia.  During the many many years that beer has been existent, it was mostly placed on earthenware for storage.  This makes the beer in a can form of storage a relatively new one.  Canned beers didn’t actually take light until after the American Prohibition.  However, once beer in cans have been introduced, they became inseparable due to the fact that some good beers are seen in cans.

Beer in cans was first tested in a carefully selected market in Virginia.  The American Can Company had the idea of packaging beers in cans since the turn of the 20th century.  They understood that offering beer in a can provide breweries a lot of advantages, and of course, at the same time, profit for them.  The main reasons as to why using cans provided many advantages was that glass bottles were heavy when combined, thus the difficulty and expense in added weight for shipping is removed.  Also, beer bottles when returned had to be inspected for cracks and chips which had to be done manually during those times.

The use of can in beer distribution was revolutionary because cans were not prone to breaking when toppled.  Additionally, since the can weights less than bottles, shipping them is also made cheaper. Aside from these, other advantages cans had to offer was that the can where beer is stored on provided better labeling space.  Also, since the creation and fabrication of cans were cheaper than the making of glass bottles, brewers were able to earn more profit.

These days, many of us take beer in cans for granted.  The truth is, there were a lot of hurdles and challenges back in those times on how to package a beer in a can properly.  This involved the proper packaging of the beer from pressure buildup.  It was only in the 1930s that a can was developed strong enough to withstand the pressure that beer can create.  The problem was solved by lining the can using vinylite, a moldable plastic placed on the seams.  The first beer in cans was used by the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company in New Jersey and their beer in can products were being sold within Newark by 1935.  This was basically the birth of the beer in a can.

For smaller breweries, the thought of moving into a beer in can lineup production was out of the question because they needed to make a completely new packaging line to accommodate the technology.  What they did however is use cone top cans which were sealed using crown caps similar to that of bottles.  This allowed them to run their bottling lines using their old setup.  By 1960, all cone top cans disappeared in favor of the pull tab beer cans.  People loved the idea of the pull tab but the litter caused by the removed sharp metal tab caused problems not only for the city, but also with the wildlife because many ended up choking from them.  In 1975, the fixed were introduced and remains unchanged until today.

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