The fine folks over at http://www.CANFEST.com (https://www.facebook.com/CANFEST?ref=br_tf) are having their annual Beer Blogger Contest, and the subject matter is why cans are awesome. This works out perfectly, because the debate over cans vs bottles continues to go on for every new member entering the craft beer community. The age-old argument of better taste, more “draft-like” qualities, possible off flavors due to packaging, safety, and what have you continue to permeate not just the fans of craft beer, but find their way all the way up the ladder to brewers and owners, as well. I love a good debate as much as the next guy, so it’s time to throw my two cents in on the subject of CANS!
NOT THOSE CANS…that’s a different blog altogether.
There, that’s a little better. Slightly outdated, but you get the point.
Anytime you find yourself discussing the craft beer culture with other folks, it is very common for the debate of cans vs bottles to come into the conversation. Many times I have heard the aspiring beer snob declare “how much better beer tastes coming out of a bottle” or “how much closer a bottle is to draft over a can as far as flavor and body.” No matter what the defense of their newly found anti-can rant, all I hear is:
Let’s tackle some of the jabs the canned craft beer segment is regularly subjected to.
1. Bottles give you a closer experience to draft than cans
I’m pretty sure your tap lines are coming directly from a keg, which really shares an insanely huge amount of characteristics with the cans you are degrading. I rest my case.
2. Cans give the beer an aluminum/tinny taste
Most, if not all, beer cans contain an inner coating to eliminate any alteration of taste. I don’t know hard numbers, but I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a study out there involving some sort of blind taste test of beers in cans and bottles and how little people could actually discern a difference.
3. I’m trying to avoid the BPA that the can lining gives off
Studies have shown that the low levels of BPA contained in the can liners is safe, per the FDA. Besides, that BPA from the can lining is also on the bottle cap you just pried off with your judgmental self. Boom!
Now, to stray away from the jabs, and look more to the positive. Canned beer brings a plethora of pros to the debate.
Cans save more energy all around. They are easy to recycle. They do not break, lending themselves more to being able to recycle, as well as being easier to ship for distributors. In regards to distribution, cans are lighter and smaller, allowing increased volume/decreased weight per truck, which leads to less trucks/better mileage. No matter which way you slice it, Mother Earth wants you to use cans.
-SAVE THE BEER!!!
The biggest enemy of beer is sunlight/UV light, and we’ve all seen the pictures of how much light is deflected by the different colored glass bottles, clear<green<brown and so on and so forth. Guess what? Cans block it all. (imagine a dropped microphone here)
-PACK IN, PACK OUT
Cans are universally accepted. Most beaches are prohibiting bottles…cans are welcome and accounted for! A lot of outdoor entertainment venues are doing away with glass (and don’t you dare bring me a plastic bottle!), so bring on those cans! You can load a hiking backpack full of beer cans and not worry the slightest about them breaking during your trip, as well as them being lighter to carry in general.
I’ve already listed how cans help decrease shipping, well this in turn costs the breweries less money, and well all know that means less out of our pockets for these wonderful brews.
You can’t successfully cook a chicken with a bottle of beer shoved in it, but a can is just about damn perfect. Do I really need to keep going here????
It’s ironic, really, that people have turned against cans, which were truly the mainstream form of transit for all beer for decades. I’ve always wondered if the original craft beer supporters tried to distance themselves from canned beer to try to further distance themselves from the Big 3 beer makers, in some way thinking that bottles gave them an immediate step-up from the lowly swill-swiggers?
In 2002, Oskar Blues became the first microbrewery to exclusively can their products. At the time, this was unheard of. According to a recent article on Beerpulse.com, the number of canning craft brewers has doubled in the last 18 months, raising the total count past 500. The largest of craft brewers resembles this statistic, as the Boston Beer Co (Sam Adam’s) has recently begun canning, Sierra Nevada has been canning for some time, and more continue to follow suit. Canning has even reached new heights, with breweries like Cigar City and Oskar Blues introducing the Crowler, which is a 32 ounce growler (basically) in the shape of a giant can, and said can is seem sealed right there behind the bar, containing your preference of wonderful liquid awesome.
I mean, c’mon people, this is the renaissance of canned beer, and we should not leave anyone behind in this adventure!
Cans are the future. They make more sense, both in terms of logic and logistics. Ultimately, they impart no ill effects on the beer they contain, and impart less of an impact on this great ol’ planet of ours. Regardless, everyone is entitled to their opinions. What I ask of you, my loyal readers, is that you take each beer unbiased, and ultimately, enjoy it. And as always, drink educated my friends!