THE FIRST CANNED CRAFT BEER
Legend has it that the first craft beer that came to the market using the can as packaging was the Dale's Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery, back in 2002. Since then the trend has been increasing within the micro-brewery industry, to the point of becoming one of the most popular and growing formats worldwide.
However, there is evidence to show that the legendary Dale's Pale Ale by Oskar Blues was not the first, and that 11 years earlier, on a Monday in June 1991, Mild-Coast Brewing Co., founded by Jeff Fulbright, officially presented to 45 people the canned beer "Chief Oshkosh Red Lager" at the Hilton hotel in downtown Oshkosh (Wisconsin, USA).
According to the statements of Fulbright for the magazine All About Beer, said decision to can their beers was due to purely economic reasons, and in fact, he has recognized that he was not aware that at that time it was a unique practice in of the world of craft beer.
A CONTAINER ADAPTED TO MODERN LIFESTYLE
Consumers are becoming increasingly clear on the fact that they want products that fit their lifestyle (and not the other way around).
If we take into account this circumstance, it seems obvious that more and more lovers of craft beer opt for the can, a package that also fits perfectly with a product in which, unlike what happens with industrial beer, the protagonists are flavor and freshness. In addition, the can is an ideal option to transport, it cools faster than the bottle and offers much more possibilities in terms of design and visual appeal.
On the other hand, if we take into account new consumer trends, and more specifically the rise of the conscious consumers who seek to make responsible decisions about what they buy, that demand transparency from brands, and that seek solutions to the negative impact that global consumerism entails, it is undeniable that there are very few competitors to a format like the aluminum can, a sustainable type of container and 100% recyclable.
THE CAN AND THE BREWERIES
If we look at it from the point of view of the breweries, there is no doubt that the can has multiple virtues. And not only am I referring to commercial reasons, in the sense that customers increasingly demand this type of format, but also circumstances such as the fact that the cans are much lighter and are designed to stack efficiently, which is very beneficial both for storage space, and for its subsequent transport and distribution.
Likewise, we see that breweries no longer need to invest heavily in machinery for their factories in order to carry out the filling of cans, but nowadays they choose different options that are much cheaper and / or profitable such as the rental of canning lines. A good example of this can be found in Los Bucaneros, a company specialized in offering a mobile canning service directly to breweries, and who are working with important breweries on the national scene such as Naparbier, Espiga, La Pirata, Península, Ctretze Pirineus or Edge Brewing.
ADVANTAGES OF THE ALUMINUM CAN VS. THE GLASS BOTTLE
Some of the advantages of the aluminum can vs. the bottle:
Blocking light: when the sunlight, or in some cases a fluorescent light, reaches the beer, a chemical reaction takes place that transforms the iso-alpha-acids into 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, which causes a smell of skunk. While it is true that brown bottles partially block light, it is also true that over time they are affected. In the case of the can, this does not happen, because it is a closed container and hermetically sealed.
Weight and shape: Benefits both the breweries (transport and distribution) and the consumer who wants to bring it to the mountains, the beach or even storing at home.
Blocking oxygen: as with light, oxygen is not good for beer either. Basically because it causes it to age, oxidize and adds unwanted and unpleasant tastes of cardboard or wet paper.
Storage: again an advantage for the breweries when storing, as well as for the consumer who stores it in his fridge.
Cooling: in this case what is an advantage (the can cooling faster than the bottle), is in turn a disadvantage when consuming it, because the can is heated much faster.
Recycling and environmental impact: the cans are 100% recyclable and can also be recycled indefinitely. Recycling aluminum reduces by 95% the atmospheric pollution generated during its manufacture, and manufacturing aluminum from recycled aluminum requires 90% less energy than starting from the original mineral.
That said, and after mentioning all these advantages of the can vs. the bottle, I can only add that there are some traditional beer styles that require a process of re-fermentation in the bottle that the can cannot provide, basically because they would explode. So the best option for those who like variety, is to have a large beer cellar!