Need a reason to celebrate January 24th? Well, here it is! On this day in 1935, the first beer can was introduced to the market. So, sip a Sam Adams Boston Lager, now available in cans – or any of your favorite canned brews – and enjoy the history of a beer drinker’s milestone.
Thanks to the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company, whose family history in Germany dates to the 1100s, we now enjoy a cold beverage in a can. The company introduced the concept in the United States in 1935. The first beer can was made of heavy tin and steel and had a flat top, so you had to puncture it to enjoy your favorite brew.
Production for consumers came to a halt during World War II because metal was needed for the war effort. The only beer cans manufactured at that time were sent to troops overseas. These cans were easily identifiable by the olive green and black camouflage packaging and are highly valued by collectors today.
Today’s modern beer can evolved with the use of aluminum and was packaged that way for the first time by the Hawaii Brewing Company in 1958. Aluminum became popular because of complaints from consumers that tin and steel cans were too heavy. The aluminum can further developed from the flat top that had to be pried open to the easier pull-top tab. Now, the stay-on-tab is the market standard.
Appearance matters with beer cans, and especially as they were mass introduced in the 1950s. Success was measured on the can’s presentation of the beer, not necessarily just its taste. That is why older cans have entertaining pictures or slogans on them. Appearance still matters. Here are some beer cans easily identifiable now:
- Miller Lite’s retro can is on shelves now with the iconic design, which is also featured in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
- Foster’s is known for its unique, solid structure
- The green color of Heineken, available in bottle and cans, is easy to spot
- Guinness’ black can is very recognizable and reminds consumers of its bold flavors
Canned beer is popping up all over the place, even craft beers, so next time you are at the store or out with friends, grab a canned version of your favorite brew, such as Blue Moon or the champagne of beers, Miller High Life.
Pop one open in honor of canned beer day! And always drink responsibly.