Cans are the new bottles in the world of beer

Cans are the new bottles in the world of beer

In the craft beer world, cans are quietly replacing bottles as the container of choice. According to 21st Amendment Brewery Brewmaster Shaun O'Sullivan, not only is it cheaper to manufacture cans, but they're also more energy-efficient to produce, more easily recyclable, more compact once used, lighter, more portable, and keep the beer longer than glass.

Local beer brewers like Brooklyn Center's Surly and the Cold Spring-brewed 21st Amendment have already jumped on to the expanding aluminum can bandwagon. In fact, Bon Appetit names both of them on a list of the "Top Ten Artisanal Canned Beers" in this month's issue, adding another important reason for making the switch to cans: The beer tastes better.

"Cans are perfect for the craft beer drinker," says O'Sullivan. "People who drink it have a tendency to be more outdoorsy and concerned about the environment. Cans are more recyclable ... and you can take them places that you can't take a bottle, like a lake or a beach or a golf course."

Word.The only question is: Why did bottles ever become popular in the first place?

According to O'Sullivan, until recently it hasn't been financially feasible for small brewers to can their products, with canning companies requiring prohibitive minimum orders. More and more companies are purchasing canning equipment now though, he says, and lowering minimum orders.

O'Sullivan admits there's still a lingering "can stigma" to hurdle, but even that may not last long, with the fairly mainstream New Belgium canning some of its Fat Tire beer now. O'Sullivan says he foresees others, like Sierra Nevada, following suit before too long.

You can check out some of 21st Amendment's cans of beer (they've got three and soon-to-be four beers out) locally for yourself at places like South Lyndale Liquors, Haskell's, and Four Firkins, or at restaurants including Bar La Grassa, Grumpy's N.E., and the Triple Rock.

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