Beer cans have come a long way since 24 January 1935, when Krueger introduced its Special Beer and Cream Ale in steel cans. And, as the largest supplier of beer cans in the world, Ball Corporation has played a key role in its evolution.
From the beginning, cans have offered a lightweight, durable alternative to glass beer packaging, with a large surface area for branding. The first three-piece steel beer can weighed 35oz and required a church key for opening. Since that time, can makers have worked to continuously improve the cylindrical package. These days, aluminium cans that hold 12oz of beer weigh just 0.47oz and feature easy to open, stay-on tabs.
The first steel beer cans featured flat tops or cone tops. The cone top cans appealed to small brewers who could fill the cans using existing bottling lines instead of buying new can-filling equipment.
The first aluminium beer cans debuted in the US in 1958. These cans were made of just two pieces: the base and the body were made from one piece, and the end, or lid, was seamed on later. That’s essentially the same process Ball uses to make beer cans today.
The first pull-tab beer cans appeared in 1963. Consumers loved them because they no longer needed to use an opener, but the used and discarded tabs raised questions about litter and safety. In 1975, the first fixed or stay-tab beer can was introduced. The safe and convenient design caught on and has remained relatively unchanged since.
In recent years, Ball has brought many innovations to the beer can which have benefited brewers and consumers alike. They include visual effects such as coloured tabs, magazine-quality printing and thermochromic ink that lets consumers know their beer is cold enough to drink. There’s also smooth-pouring ends and Ball’s Alumi-Tek bottle, which provides all the advantages of the beer can with the extra benefit of ‘reclosability’.
These continuing improvements have helped keep cans a beer package of choice.
Thanks to Ball Corporation
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019