It’s hard, if possible at all, to find a beer brand anywhere in the world that isn’t sold in cans these days. What’s not to love about canned beer? It’s easier to cool, takes less space in your fridge, and most notably is more portable than bottled variety. But even though cans weren’t always readily available, they’re taken for granted. Fortunately, the Americans set a day aside to appreciate one of the most convenient innovations in the adult beverage industry. What’s beer can appreciation day all about?
What is Beer Can Appreciation Day?
82 years ago today, canned beer made its debut with Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale. These beers were canned in conjunction with the American Can Company for distribution to consumers in Richmond, Virginia. Because they were still unsure of the response to the cans, only 2,000 of them were produced. But beer cans were a hit. Apparently, 91% of the people who tried the initial run approved of it and encouraged Krueger to continue giving it a try. It is because of this successful run that the 24th of January is the official Beer Can Appreciation Day.
Before 1935 when it was a success, the American Can Company had experimented with the idea in 1909 and failed. After the end of prohibition, in 1933, the company finally produced a can capable of holding beer and Krueger’s was the first brand to capitalise on it. Weighing in at 4 ounces, these first canned beers opened with a church key. Krueger’s had barely had their canned beers in retail shelves for three months before other big beer companies like Pabst and Schmitz started selling their beers in cans as well. It’s been reported that by the end of 1935, an estimated 200 million canned beers were produced and sold by breweries.
Sometime in 1935, the G. Heilemann Brewing Company introduced cone-top cans which fit existing bottling lines as they were convenient for small brewers with small budgets. In 1963, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company revolutionized the beer can movement by introducing Iron City Beer in self-opening cans with “pull tabs”, also known as “pop tops”. But with their sharp edges, the pull tabs became dangerous litter at beaches, backyards and everywhere beverages were consumed. However, in 1975, Louisville’s Falls City Brewing Company came to the rescue with the “stay tab”, removing the pull tab’s environmental impact.
They became the preferred way to package beer because canned beers so much more convenient than their heavy glass counterparts. On Beer Can Appreciation Day, we are reminded of the artistry and talent that has gone into making the present day’s simple aluminium cans holding our irreplaceable elixir of life. We can all celebrate it by visiting our local grocery stores, locating the beer stalls and just taking a good look at the variety. If available in your area, please go to a collector’s convention or your proper alcohol dealers to get a real spread. Popping a few to enjoy the fizzy brew won’t hurt either! Happy Beer Can Appreciation Day!