Aluminum cans gaining popularity for craft beers due to advantages over bottles; by end of 2012, at least half of the 25 largest U.S. craft breweries expected to be selling canned beer, twice as much as this year

LOS ANGELES , December 29, 2011 () –

Craft brewers are increasingly choosing aluminum cans over bottles due to various advantages, and that trend is expected to accelerate in 2012, reported The Washington Post on Dec. 19.

By the end of 2012, at least half of the 25 largest U.S. brewers of craft beer will be using aluminum cans, twice as much as in 2011. This year, there were about 150 craft breweries using cans. This is up from about 50, mostly smaller ones, in 2009.

Even such long-standing skeptics as The Boston Beer Co. President Jim Koch is looking at aluminum cans. The Boston-based company is working with suppliers to develop a can with thicker, denser linings that can address certain problems, said Koch, the Post reported.

The chief resistance, though, has been its cultural status as defined by Bud, beans and Spam. And some brewers are choosing to go in the opposite direction and elevate craft beers to the level of fine wines.

Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, for instance, is moving to a 750-milliliter bottle, reported the Post.

Cans also aren’t for those who want the beer to age, as they can put the brew in contact with metal, leading to off flavors, said Joey Redner, owner of Florida-based Cigar City Brewing, which continues to use bottles for limited releases.

The linings on cans also might contain bisphenol A, a chemical linked to endocrine and reproductive problems, the Post reported.

However, there are many advantages to using cans. Compared to bottles, they block light and keep out air better to help keep beer fresh; are easier to recycle, thereby appealing to sustainability-oriented breweries; are more portable; cost less to ship; and save brewers money in the long-run.

Although Koch now thinks “there will come a day when I will feel comfortable putting Sam Adams in a can,” he believes cans affect beer’s taste through tiny tears in can linings that cause a metallic trace and plastic linings that absorb hop aromas.

Still, a number of canned craft beers won awards at this fall’s Great American Beer Festival, including Oskar Blues Brewery of Colorado, Indiana’s Sun King Brewing and San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery, among others, reported the Post.

The primary source of this article is The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., on Dec. 19, 2011.


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