January 24th marks the official birthday of the beer can and in my opinion should get some consideration as a national holiday up here in CANada. Obviously, we here at West Coast Canning are a little biased, as beer cans make our world go round, but take a second and think about all that the beer can has given you. It’s generated a lot of self-confidence, whether it comes from the delicious brew it contains, or the superhuman strength it allows to display as you crush it against your head. It’s been the source of a lot of good times and probably just as many hangovers. It’s substituted for a hockey puck, a penholder, a baseball and a doorstop. I’ve said it before, but the beer can really is the Swiss Army Knife of the packaging industry. Maybe that’s why 67 billion of them were consumed last year worldwide.
In celebration of this glorious vessel of good times, lets take a look back at the history of the beer can to see how gracefully it has aged into the best beer package out there.
The American prohibition era that began in 1920 must have been a tough time. The Volstead Act enforced national prohibition, defining an alcoholic beverage as one containing just 0.5% Alc./Vol. Luckily, in 1933 the Volstead Act was modified to allow for production of light beer at 3.2% Alc./Vol, which opened the door to limited production capabilities for American brewers. In November 1933, The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company out of Newark, New Jersey signed on with the American Can Company, who had developed a workable flat top can model . 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Special Beer rolled off a temporary canning line and into the hands of faithful Krueger drinkers. 91% of these lucky pioneers approved of the beer’s taste in a can, with 85% of those saying it tasted more like draft beer than bottled stuff. With this seal of customer approval, canned beer became a real thing, and on January 24th, 1935 Kruger’s special beer went on the shelves in Richmond, Virginia.
There have been several re-inventions of the beer can since those first Krueger’s rolled off the line in1935,but all of them have one thing in common: they gave the people what they wanted, a crisp, refreshing beer in a light, portable and protective package. Cheers to that!
Sources used in this article:
RustyCans- Timeline http://www.rustycans.com/HISTORY/timeline.html – Mark E. Benbow
Brewery Collectibles Club of America – Beer Can History http://www.bcca.com/history/beer_can_history.asp
Statistic Brain – Beer Industry Statistics