Beer News

Bottles to Cans (Clap Your Hands)

Would you pay craft-brew prices for beer in a can?

September 17, 2009

Mega-micro New Belgium now sells Fat Tire in a can.

I was reading this article in Seattle Met sister pub Portland Monthly today about microbreweries switching over to cans, and I wondered if this was something we were going to start seeing from Washington craft breweries as well. I called up Bottleworks, like you do when you have such questions, and talked to one Shaughn O’keefe. (Did you see shamrocks dancing in your head when you read that name? Me too.)

O’keefe told me there are currently two Washington craft brewers getting into the can game: Fremont Brewing in Fremont, and Seven Seas, in Gig Harbor. Both are in the process of installing full canning lines. Other than that, O’keefe says, you’ve got to go to Oregon beer to get your can on.

What are the advantages of cans over bottles? “It costs less for the brewery,” says O’Keefe “and it costs less to ship. It doesn’t alter the flavor, you can take it camping, there’s no way for light or oxygen to get in the way they can with a bottle. There’s a stigma against cans, they don’t look as classy, but I think people are going to come around.”

Other advantages O’keefe failed to mention: you can slam cans against your forehead. You can poke two holes in the side of a can and dare some Australian to “vampire bite” the whole beer. You can surreptitiously shake a can up and then doo tee doo serve it to your friend and laugh hysterically when the beer soaks him in a sticky layer of stinky suds. Pot smokers can turn them into bongs, though if they do they are then obliged to engage in a lengthy, paranoia-inducing conversation about possible side effects from aluminum inhalation. You can call a power hour, then construct a multi-tiered Tower of Power with the empties. You can destroy your Power Tower with a ninja kick, never bothering to worry about broken glass.

Basically cans offer the opportunity to relive your college days, only this time the beer will taste good. But it will cost more. So the question is: will people be willing to pay craft-brew prices for beer in a can?

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