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The History Of A Humble Beer Can

There’s a lot to appreciate about beer cans – they can be easily recycled, they are lightweight and easy to move around, which is why the majority of breweries strictly choose cans over bottles. This day, January 24th, allows beer fans to focus on cans above glass in their beer imbibing. On the occasion of National Beer Can Appreciation Day, let’s dig through the history of a humble beer can.

January 24th marks a special day in the history of beer as the first beer can was officially sold on by Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. in collaboration with American Can Co. in the year 1935. This was a two-year effort to make a proper packaging for canned beer after several trials across the nation. Years later, people from the American brewing community still come together and celebrate “National Beer Can Appreciation Day” which commemorates that historic occasion. It comes during a time where craft beer has embraced the style rapidly over the past few years.

Beer Can Day
Krueger Beer Can. Image source: brookston-beer-bulletin

Even before the year 1935, people in the United States have been playing around with the idea of canning a beer in the early 1900s. When the first beer can was launched, it had stumped everyone. The new can were light and easy to chill, and took up less space than bottles in the refrigerator. All of which was very appealing to women. Cans were a big hit post prohibition and during World War II.

Image source: Randy Mosher

By the end of November 1933, American Can Company and Krueger had delivered 2,000 cans filled with 3.2% Krueger Beer – the highest ABV at the time as part of a trial run. The companies received over 90% of positive feedback from consumers. Despite all this success, it would still be a while before the beer can would truly take off. When World War II commenced, the production of cans had come to a standstill since it put a hold on the use of most metals for anything other than military materials. Beer was still being produced, but it wasn’t until the end of the war that the can could really take off.

5 Reasons To Appreciate National Beer Can Day

1. Cans are much easier to stack than the traditional bottles. Be it a grocery store, garage or even a refrigerator at home, cans are easy to organise.

2. Cans are durable. Thanks to the technology, the advent of canned beer allowed American brewers to ship millions of cans of beer to the soldiers who were deployed overseas during World War II.

3. Beer cans are easy to chill and in fact they cool down faster than bottles.

4. Beer cans are the most recycled packaging materials on earth.

5. Most importantly, beer cans are preferred by most brewers because they help keep out two of beer’s worst enemies: UV light and oxygen.

Beer Can Day
Brooklyn Brewery’s Pulp Art – Hazy IPA

Well now that we’ve taken a trip down the memory lane, this day calls for a true celebration. Enjoy beer from a can! While you do, explore and admire the art behind a beer can. As more craft beers hit the market, designing the labels becomes as much an art form as the can and the beer do. When you’re finished with the can, recycle it.

Source: National Day Calendar