The Beer Can: A Brief History
January 24 marks the anniversary of a critical event in Beer History and one that is often unappreciated. It marks the day the first canned beer is introduced to the market. Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company partnered with the American Can Company and delivered 2000 cans of beer to Richmond, VA on this day in 1935, where an a whopping 91% of Krueger fans approved the product. American Can Company made many attempts at canning beer and after years of trial and error, the company developed a special lining to protect the beer from reacting with the metal.
Much has changed since that day in 1935. Technological advances have improved how cans are made, and the lining that coats and protects both the metal (which has since changed) and the product (which also has since changed). The can has been hailed as a superior vessel for the ultimate craft beer experience. These days, we have special events, festivals and charity drives all built around the Mighty Beer Can.
The canning process is interesting and understanding it may lend a great appreciation to the breweries who offer a canned product. Canning lines come in all shapes and sizes. Often, the process is so quick that it’s difficult to catch all the detail with the naked eye.
The Canning Process
The most basic breakdown works like this:
1) Empty containers are rinsed with sanitized water which removes undesirables or solutions that may have been used in the manufacturing of the can.
2) The can is purged and pressurized with CO2. CO2 pressurizing prevents excess foaming when the beer is introduced into the can.
3) The can is gently filled with beer, the sweet nectar of the gods.
4) Pressure is slowly relieved so as not to agitate the beer.
5) Intentional fobbing (or foaming) forces any headspace oxygen out of the can just prior to applying lid and seaming.
6) In a very quick process, the can end is folded over the body and sealed with incredible precision. This is the can’s seam. The process is called double seaming. (pictured)
7) The outside of the container is rinsed with sanitized recycled water to remove any beer that may be clinging to the can after fobbing.
Surprising to me, this process isn’t very different from the bottling process. Here is a video that demonstrates the canning process during a run of Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter.
On Sunday, January 24, we pay homage to the beer can’s introduction into the commercial market. Come by Four Peaks in Tempe and Four Peaks Grill and Tap in Scottsdale on this day and enjoy $1 off a 6 pack of our canned beer selection!