Ever since Oskar Blues Brewery started canning Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002, canned craft beer has exploded across the United States. According to craftcans.com, a website dedicated to providing news and reviews for the “Canned Beer Revolution,” there are now more than 500 craft breweries packaging in cans. In 2007, there were less than 100.
Washington state has been slow to catch onto this movement, but it is making up for lost time. In the last few years alone, the number of breweries that can has grown from just a handful to now more than 20.
What is spurring this Canned Beer Revolution? As consumers (and brewers) become more educated about modern cans and the advantages they offer, the negative stigma of canned beer continues to fade.
It should be noted that the brown bottle is still an excellent vessel for packaging beer. The can, however, is just as good, and in many ways it is better. Below are some of its benefits.
Beer Quality Benefits
- Cans are impervious to the damaging effects of light. Brown glass bottles are better than green or clear bottles, but light can still penetrate through brown glass.
- Cans are air tight and hermetically sealed, preventing oxygen from damaging the beer. Over time, oxygen can leach into bottled beer under the cap, especially with improperly sealed caps or twist-off caps. Additionally, many caps corrode, leaving behind a “metallic” or “iron-like” flavor around the lip of the bottle.
- Beer cans are no longer made of tin or steel. Modern cans are made of aluminum, and they have an aqueous polymer liner that locks in flavor and keeps the beer from coming in contact with the aluminum, so there is no longer a “metal” taste. If you drink draft beer, just think of cans as mini-kegs of beer.
*Whether you buy canned or bottled beer, it’s always recommended to drink the beer out of a proper glass.
- Cans are 100-percent recyclable, and they can be recycled indefinitely.
- A 6-pack of cans requires less packaging material than a 6-pack of bottles.
- Cans are much lighter than bottles, requiring less fuel to ship them – whether empty or filled. An empty 12-ounce bottle weighs about 7 ounces, whereas an empty can weighs only about a half ounce. Beer cans of today are 30-percent lighter than they were 25 years ago.
- Cans are easier to recycle because they crush down, making them more compact, they do not break and they are much lighter than glass.
- Aluminum cans are recycled much more than glass bottles, and new cans contain more recycled content.
- Many recycling centers do not pay for glass bottles (especially those outside of the 10 “Beer Bill” states, which require deposits), whereas many do pay a good amount for aluminum cans (usually between $1,400 and $1,600 per ton).
- Cans are allowed in many places where bottles are typically not allowed, such as beaches, pools, parks, campgrounds, ballparks, golf courses, boats, etc. Oh, and Vegas: Glass bottles were recently banned on the Las Vegas Strip.
- Cans do not break, so they’re safer than glass.
- Cans take up less space in refrigerators, and they’re better for coolers because they’re lighter, more compact, and they chill quicker.
- When hiking or backpacking, cans are easier to pack in and out of the outdoors, as they are lighter, more compact and crushable. Plus they do not require a bottle opener, and they chill quicker in mountain streams. You can even make a lightweight stove out of a can.
Celebrate the almighty CAN this Fourth of July!
Celebrate community, country and delicious craft beer – all for a great cause – at this year’s Yes, We CAN! Canned Craft Beer Festival! This all-ages event will feature beer from more than 40 breweries, music from local bands Polecat and Wild Rabbit, live performances from the Bellingham Circus Guild, games for the whole family, delicious street food, and one of the best views of the fireworks in town. Tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door), and admission includes 3 drink tickets. Kids 14 and under get in free. Buy tickets online at universe.com/yeswecanbeerfest or in person at Community Food Co-ops, Kulshan Brewery, Elizabeth Station or The RE Store. For more information, visit re-sources.org/yeswecan. All proceeds benefit RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.