Canned vs. Bottled Beer: What’s the Difference?

Posted by linelogic

If you’ve been watching the wonderful world of craft breweries closely this year, you’ll have noticed a new, popular trend: moving craft beers from bottles to cans. As more and more brewing companies are making the move to canned products, consumers are asking: what’s wrong with the bottling process? Nothing really. But, canned beers do have a lot of benefits for both the environment and the taste of your beer.
1. No Light Pollution/Oxidation – Aluminum cans essentially act like miniature, air-tight kegs. High energy light waves (sunlight, fridge light, grocery store light) can pollute bottled beer, especially beer in green or clear bottles. This gives your beer a “skunky” taste. Best part about cans? The opaque aluminum material prevents light from corrupting the flavor of your favorite brew. Secondly, the aluminum can’s air-tight packaging helps prevent the oxidation process from speeding up. Oxidation gives your brew a stale taste and will occur in any beer over a period of time. Bottled beers unfortunately aren’t as air-tight as an aluminum can, hence oxidation is more likely to take place.
2. Portability – Aluminum cans are built for portability. They take up less packaging space than bottled beers and weigh lighter. This slightly drives down the cost of transportation. Have you ever had a bottle break in your bag? We have. It’s no fun. Aluminum cans are great for transporting in a bag or cooler when traveling. You drop an aluminum can, it doesn’t shatter (though, it may explode). This makes clean up easier and more friendly on our environment. Because of the “breakable” factor of glass bottles, most parks and recreational areas ban them. Nobody wants to walk through a music festival barefoot only to step on a piece of glass. Though, if you’re at a music festival, you should probably keep your shoes on. Just saying.
3. Sustainability – While aluminum cans consume more energy to produce, they create an overall lower environmental impact due to the small amount of material used to package the product. Additionally, recycled aluminum helps reduce the need for new aluminum production.
Wow. Aluminum cans sound great. But, won’t they make my beer taste a little metallic? Aluminum cans are lined with a thin layer of a water-based polymer preventing the beer from interacting with the aluminum. So, no worries. Your beer won’t taste like metal. In fact, most taste testers can’t tell the difference between beer in aluminum cans or bottles.
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