Tomorrow, January 24th, marks the anniversary of the first canned beer sold in the United States. And it was an instant success. According to a survey taken soon after canned beer was introduced, more than 90 percent of beer drinkers said they liked the idea. Today, canned beer accounts for approximately half of the $20 billion generated in beer sales in the U.S. every year.
In what year was the first canned beer sold?
The American Can Company had been working on putting beer in a can since 1909. But the containers couldn’t withstand the pressure from carbonation — up to 80 pounds per square inch — and exploded. Then Prohibition went into effect in 1920 and the project was put on hold.
But when the experiment was revived almost 20 years later, it was a very different story. A new era in beer drinking began when the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company puts 2,000 cans of its beer on sale in Richmond, Virginia.
The American Can Company had convinced them that it had come up with a special coating that would keep beer from chemically reacting with the tin inside the can. It helped that American Can agreed to install all the canning equipment for free.
Within three months, over 80 percent of distributors in the U.S. were handling Krueger’s canned beer, and Krueger’s was eating into the market share of the “big three” national brewers–Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and Schlitz. The big beer companies got the message and followed suit. By the end of that first year, more than 200 million cans of beer had been sold.
When did all this happen? The first time canned beer is available to the public was January 24, 1935.
Canned beer’s popularity grew during the 1930’s, then took off during World War II, when U.S. brewers shipped millions of cans of beer to soldiers overseas. After the war, national brewing companies began to take advantage of the mass distribution that cans made possible, and were able to control their costs much better than the local breweries which had always dominated the beer business.
And beer in cans had some clear advantages. People who bought canned beer didn’t have to pay a deposit while those who purchased beer in bottles did. Cans were also easier to stack, more durable and took less time to chill. Some breweries tried out cans with conical rather than flat tops, but they didn’t stack and ship as easily.
Net Check In’s:
Tonight we had a total of 36 people check in to the Net and a bunch of them (are apparently beer drinkers and) had the correct answer to the Trivia Question. Congratulations to:
- Khalil – K6FCC
- John – KD6JEV
- Jerry – KD6JPD
- Joe – N6KAO
- Andy – N6KAS
- Jeff – KK6LP
- David – KA6LUI
- Kelly – KF6QQM
- Roy – W6REH
- Leon – AF6TT
- Louie – AD6UP
- Murray – WA6USL
- Harry – KF6ZQM
Thank you to everyone for supporting the Net.