Craft Beer in Cans Part 2
Further to our interesting little debate a couple of weeks ago on craft beers in cans we thought we would show you an image of how Punk IPA would look in a can.
We were very interested in all the comments and feedback which this article provoked: http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article.php?id=270 Many of the comments were very intelligent and well reasoned and emotions also ran pretty high with some posters during the debate. Overall we like the can concept and it certainly offers advantages, however the big questions is whether these advantages would be outweighed by a bias some people seem to have against cans. This is a long term project for us and we are going to continue exploring the possibility of eventually putting one of our beers into a can. Whatever we did with cans, it would complement rather than replace any of the bottled beers and most likely our lower ABV offerings. I do wonder if we should can Sink the Bismarck or the Penguin though?
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- As far as packaging goes, bottles loose out to cans in every category, except possibly when you drink directly from the container, but beer should be served in an appropriate glass.
Cans have been lined with an epoxy resin for close to 80 years so anyone saying you can taste the metal, that's all in their head. Cans are manufactured from aluminum or stainless steel, not tin, at least not since the 1950's. Part of the problem with cans, and one of the reasons that it's mostly macro lagers, is that to even though the unit cost is much cheaper, the minimum order is something like 150k units, and you need to have them printed at the plant for each brand. With bottles, you can buy them in smaller lots, and apply the appropriate label at bottling time
Bottle's are fine if their drunk relatively soon after bottling, corks and crown tops are notoriously prone to O2 leakage, and hops denature to skunk the beer when light struck. None of those are issues with cans, or kegs and casks for that matter, they're usually lined just like cans. Some styles improve with oxygen, imperial stouts, barlywines, Belgian Quads, mostly malty high ABV beers where the sherry flavors that O2 produces are desired, and are designed to be aged that way. Wines are corked specifically for the porousness of the cork.
That being said, BD has invested in a bottling line already, and the UK market seems especially prejudiced against cans, so continuing to bottle for domestic consumption makes sense, but for export, especially to the US, cans make much more sense. The US market, at least the craft beer side, is very sophisticated, and understands the benefits quite well. Plus, in the US, BD wouldn't have to carry the flag for proving craft beer in cans work, there are hundreds of craft beers in cans. In the UK though, putting BD in cans could be seen as slightly punkish. Although, there are good beers in cans in the UK now, Fullers, Youngs etc. In the US, if you compare a Fullers ESB can and bottle, and you can taste the can being dramatically fresher, hops have fallen out and you can taste a bit of cardboard/sherry.
I've noticed a bit of that with BD too, cans just make sense for export. Even if BD gets US production at Anchor in the future, cans would be nice differentiation, as the Anchor bottles are very specific. In either case, I'd vote for pints in 4 packs.Rick Sizemore16.05.2010
- Don't forget that cans are cheaper to ship than bottles, as they require less space and are significantly lighter. If the quality isn't sacrificed, I'm all for it! Chris O'Leary13.04.2010
- I think it's a great idea. The design on the bottles is awesome and I really think it carries well over to cans as seen on the pictures. Since your intentions seem to be to complement and not to replace the bottles then I see no problems with it, I'd gladly drink a 77 lager out of a can as long as it tastes as well as it does in a bottle. Pat11.04.2010
- I think it's a great idea...yo-ho brewing in japan does this with all their beers:yona yona pale ale,aoooni IPA,tokyo black etc...might make brewdog more affordable and accessible to the international market/s as well as domestically......Luv ya beers beers keep cranking them out!! aussiegbeer09.04.2010
- What people are forgeting is that when they go to the pub the drink beer out of an 88 pint can! I would go for Punk IPA in 500ml cans as that nicely fills a pint glass when poured! Steve09.04.2010
- Well personally I prefer drinking a beer out of a bottle, however I don't mind pouring my beer out of a can into a glass. I not really a fan of drinking straight from a can, however if cans are easier to and more often recycled than bottles, then I think that this should be taken into account too. Paul C07.04.2010
- As a point of interest, are you confident of getting the flavour correct as you use micro filtration? I assume most other craft breweries in the UK would struggle with tins as they would have to pasteurise? As far as size goes, I rather like the 330ml tins, they have a certain charm for me, & if you are drinking from a tin (which although at home you can pour into a glass, is kind of the point) I find the end of a big tin a bit flat/watery/unsatisfying. Don't know if its physcological but there you have it. ed read07.04.2010
- Im sure cans would be a success, but they should definitely be pint sized.
The picture looks like a can of pop.Steve07.04.2010
- I'm intrigued by the can idea, there is a big bias in the UK about cans, probably because all the beer available in tins is awful. If you manage to nail the flavour in a tin maybe run out the stock in specialist beer outlets or small amounts & create a buzz around it as I'm sure you guys are capable of, then roll it out properly. The traditionalists will have kittens ed read07.04.2010
- Im curious would the people who want 500ml cans, would they like 500ml bottles? Also we've argued this out before, cans are infact a far more suitable vessal than bottles, as they cannot get light struck, no chance of oxidation and they are better for the enviroment. Davis06.04.2010
- I still think it would be better if you started using 500ml rather then 330ml bottles, especially for drinks below 10%. Tom mann06.04.2010
- go for it. I personally prefer the 330ml cans (a la oscar blues and sly fox etc- which are technically 355ml, but whatever!) because 440/500ml get warm and flat too quickly- plus the Portman group would probably throw the usual unreasonable wobbler about irresponsible drinking... tim06.04.2010
- I cant wait till the day that I get some 5am Saint +others in cans in the states. Brian Henrici06.04.2010
- When can I sink bismarck in a can? Thomas06.04.2010
- I think cans are a great idea - why not provide people with choice and then everyone is happy. In relation to putting penguin or bismark in the can this would be totally wrong. It would be like putting champagne into a can it just wouldnt feel right it's to expensive to can! Callum Slade06.04.2010
- I think more shops would stock your beers if you put your lower abv ones in cans. I'd like to see Trashy Blonde in a can if it means my local supermarket is more likely to stock it. Jock06.04.2010
- I agree with a previous comment, bottles are best, cans are great for some situations and this DOES look like it should be on the same shelf as IRN-BRU, doubt if it'd ever get approved.
Great work, great beer :)Robby06.04.2010
- i think there is definately a place for cans but be careful, looking at the picture it looks like a 330ml can? which is the same as a coke or most fizzy drinks, its bright and colourful and looks like it is aimed at kids! if its in a can i think it will definately need to be 500ml or even a pint! i think it should just be your mainstream beers in cans and not your specials, oh and of course any bottle conditioned beers obviously stay in bottles. richard boyden06.04.2010
- If you can it then please can a full pint when shipping to the US. Tim Shaw06.04.2010
- Cans are superior when you are out and about - for example on a ski trip!
Would be just awesome to, after a few runs, take the lift up to the top of the mountain, sit down in snow just outside the pist (in the sunshine) and grab a canned Punk, Chaos Theory or Hardcore from the backpack.Mo06.04.2010
- I prefer bottles but can see the advantages of cans. I think that a quality beer should have a suitable packaging/image. Cans are generally (maybe unfairly) associated with mass produced bland beers and I think it is one hell of a task to try to shatter this association, but I admire your ambition. If you can compete pricewise with canned super strength lagers of this world then you may surprise a few tastebuds. Whatever you do never compromise on quality. Mark C06.04.2010
- Colin - I was just kidding about Sink! James, BrewDog06.04.2010
- By all means, put the lower ABV beers in a can, but you're having a laugh if you think that Sink the Bismarck should be in a can. First of all, proper beer belongs in a bottle, most people agree with that. Secondly, after I finish my bottle of StB I want to have something to remember it by, perhaps a bottle on a shelf - it just won't look the same with a can. Third of all, the reasons behind canning beer (ie. cheaper for shipping, more shelf space at the store) aren't really applicable to StB since it's already quite expensive to produce (and tax) I don't believe canning it will reduce the price that much. Furthermore StB will most likely never 'just sit on the shelf' at Tesco, so it need not be in a can. Colin Sabia06.04.2010
- bottles for inside, cans for outside, simples. anarchy99906.04.2010
- I second that 77 lager should be canned, but would purchase any of your beers if canned. might i recommend bashah? Not only would the bashah artwork look great on a black can, but i would get a kick out of seeing a stone collaboration in a can... Justin Nelson06.04.2010
- If you will choose to do beer in cans i would prefer 77 Lager in a can. Love the beer and usually have it on partys and then cans usually are much easier to carry with you. Also if you have a party/bbq outside it is much easier to carry and dispose cans so it would be a nice complement to bottles. Jonas06.04.2010
- i would buy the cans if they were 440ml or 500ml preferably 500ml mike forman06.04.2010
- Being a tight Yorkshireman I think I would probably only buy Brewdog cans if they were significantly cheaper than bottles. Terrence Alowishus Fenwick06.04.2010
- Id try it, definitely. Either way it would beat the lager specials one gets. Id be very pleased if someone handed me a can of BrewDog IPA on a flight somewhere (they dont usually do bottles on flights). Francis Gilbert06.04.2010
- I suppose it will provide entry to the market for people who prefer a couple of tins. However, Im yet to meet anyone serious about beer who doesnt think bottles are better.
Also pouring beer out of a bottle is enjoyable, bit like art - something where there is no perfect pour but the amount of head you develop, when in the pour you do it is down to your personal taste or style. You just cant do that from a can. Will06.04.2010
- Last time, people made a far more reasoned and informed argument for cans than my own personal prejudice can defeat. No doubt you have looked at the figures and worked out if you can afford to invest in the necessary plant, so Id say go for it.
What I would say, given the ABV, Punk and Hardcore would probably be best sold in 330ml cans while Trashy Blonde and 5am Saint and the lagers are suited to 440ml or even 500ml. Don Robertson06.04.2010
- Give it a go. You will appeal to some other markets and hopefully shift a bit more. Canned or bottled I will be buying. Dave p06.04.2010
- Bottle is best but there will always be a time and a place for a can. Chris Hammond06.04.2010
- looks like a can of water to me karel de vlaming06.04.2010