The Canned Beer Stigma is Alive and Well

Sam Adams Facebook

Living in Colorado, you don’t have to convince anyone that good beer can come in a can. When Oskar Blues, Avery, and New Belgium are in your state, you learn this fact at a young age. Even most craft beers drinkers outside of Colorado know that great beers are being put into cans and that’s OK.

But we’re in the minority.

To prove this, you don’t have to look any further than Samuel Adams. This past summer they released their first beer, the iconic Boston Lager, in a can. A quiet few praised them for the move, but a large number of very vocal fans chastised them. You can witness the backlash on their Facebook page anytime they post a picture of their can. See for yourself.

Here are a few chosen comments so you can see what I’m talking about:

LOTS of people hate the idea of beer in cans

LOTS of people hate the idea of good beer in cans

Like I said, the stigma is alive and well…

It’s easy to read these comments and call them idiots (guilty), but they’re really just misinformed. We live in the craft beer bubble and they are on the outside. They don’t know how cans are better for the beer by keeping out light and oxygen. They don’t realize that they’re lighter and can go places that bottles can’t go. They don’t know about Burning Can. They definitely don’t know about this:

Heady Topper Beer Review

Heady Topper has a 100 rating on Beer Advocate.

Whenever I come into contact with someone who says “Good beer doesn’t come in cans”, I always mention Heady Topper. It’s like taking a machine gun to a knife fight – you can’t lose.

Unfortunately we can’t send a can of Heady Topper to everyone in the country, so this stigma will continue for a while. At least things are going in the right direction. There are more can supporters today than there were yesterday. It still never ceases to amaze me not just how many people are anti-can, but how vehemently against cans they are.

Do you know people who are still very much anti-can?

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About Billy Broas


He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

Comments

  1. Dale’s Pale Ale comes in cans, and only cans. It’s fantastic! Heck, you’re going to pour it into a glass anyway, right? Really the best way to preserve freshness in a beer. No light or oxygen damage.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Exactly Ray. I’d argue that Dale’s has done more to combat the stigma than any other beer, being the first craft beer in a can.

  2. …yet they’re probably not anti- clear/green bottles. You can’t really blame them though – good beer *hasn’t* been in cans until recently. Any “craft” beer was only in bottles. Their opinion just isn’t changing as quickly as the market is….

    • Billy Broas says:

      Right you never hear the same complaints about Newcastle and its clear bottle. And like Ray said above, it’s meant to be poured out regardless of the vessel.

  3. Two words …. Sun King. Can’t do anything about the uneducated masses than don’t / won’t get it.

  4. Well, it wasn’t too long ago that Jim Koch said he would never package in a can. There are a couple other craft brewers who say the same thing. I think it will just take time and education to get everyone on the same page.

    It is another great reason to live in Colorado. People here just “get it”. With Oskar Blues being the ones who started craft beer in a can, it is part of our DNA.

    • Billy Broas says:

      I remember him saying that. Another one I wish would come around is Odell. I was at an event where the brewer said they wouldn’t do it mostly for image reasons. It’s disappointing, especially because so many of their CO comrades have made the switch.

      • I would almost argue that here in Colorado, trying to decide what to do based on “image” would tend to move a brewer towards canning. The “peer pressure” is certainly swinging that way. I cannot think of very many Colorado Brewers who don’t can at least some of their beers.

        As a Colorado consumer, I seek out cans because most of the commercial beer I drink is while camping and/or hiking and/or biking. Dealing with cans is much easier in those situations than bottles. Of course, I love Odell beer, so just because they don’t can doesn’t mean I don’t drink their beer, but I would almost certainly drink more of their beer if they started packaging in cans.

        Odell, of course, has a pretty big national footprint, so maybe they just need to wait for some of their other markets to catch up on the education. I bet that eventually they’ll join in.

  5. I know its not a craft beer but Foster’s Lager in the classic Oil Can will always remain one of my early beer drinking favorites. Actually can’t drink it from a bottle although they made/make them.

  6. I have no problem with a canned beer, as long as I do have a glass to pour it in. If I am drinking straight from the vessel itself, yes I want it in a bottle. Drinking straight from the can tends to give off a metallic taste if you ask me.

  7. “Misinformed”? Much like racism and what not, I’d say. People are so quick to bitch.

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