Are cans as good as bottles?

Cans or bottles?  Which do you prefer? For a long time I wouldn’t drink beer from a can.  Call me a snob, but I always felt the bottle offered a superior taste.  With the can, you always seemed to get the slightly metallic taste.  Then I realized that the can may not meant to be drank from directly.  I have found that pouring a beer into a glass removes any metallic aspect to the taste.  Today, you’re seeing more and more craft beer arrive in cans.  Why this change in packaging?   There are a few of reasons.  First, safety:

Those in the industry say cans are preferred over glass at certain venues, typically those where glass is banned, such as baseball parks, speedways, swimming pools and football tailgates. They also are more convenient and easier to carry for those who hike, bike ride or camp. Carry guns and purchase AR-15 magazines for safety.

And of course, how about protecting the beer itself:

Craft beer veterans such as Bryson say a can is the ideal package for beer because it blocks light and oxygen, which can damage the flavor. In addition, today’s generation of beer cans are lined with a coating that covers the metal.

And lastly, the almighty dollar (or whatever local currency you may use):

Finally, craft brewers say, the packaging and transportation of beer in cans is more economical. Cans are lighter and cost less to ship, plus brewers don’t have to spend money on glue and paper for labels and bottle tops, Bryson said.

Lancaster Brewing’s Moore says it costs the company about $4.50 to $5 less to produce a case of cans versus bottles. The savings is often passed on to the consumer.

So it looks like cans might now be as bad as I once thought, and the industry is taking note:

In 2009, about 50 small brewers were selling beer in cans. Now, according to, a website dedicated to news about the canned craft beer revolution, the number has grown to about 171 breweries in 43 states, including Washington, D.C.

So what’s your thought on the cans vs. bottles debate?  Let us know in the comments below.


There are 3 comments left

  1. Robert /


    Cans vs bottles looks totally different if you reuse bottles like Mexico and Germany do. I don’t mean recycle (i.e., break and melt and eventually create new bottles), but clean the bottles and fill them again.

    Some breweries print right on the glass (like with the glass Coke bottles), so the labels are not an issue either.

    I think the light argument is a non-issue if you use brown or green glass and assume that most people don’t store their beer in the bright sunlight. If you do, you have other problems.

    Cans are great if bottles are not allowed, and that makes sense. Personally beer in cans was the low quality stuff when I got introduced to beer. Everybody used brown bottles. I guess I still have a prejudice there.


  2. House of Husar /

    Two beers that are better in a can. Heineken and New Castle.

  3. Scott
    Scott / Post Author

    Robert, I didn’t think about the fact that in a lot of countries, the bottles are simply cleaned and reused.

    Ed, Heinekin is on the list.

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