2017 has been a busy year for us, particularly with the launch brand new digital resources, our sponsorship of SIBA BeerX and a raft of new content highlighting innovation, the exciting growth opportunities and sustainability of the drinks can.
Here’s our rundown of 2017:
We kicked off the year with the sponsorship of our first ever ‘Can Bar’ at SIBA Beer X in Sheffield, which featured more than 65 different independent beer brands in a can for visitors to taste. At the event, our Chairman Martin Constable, also spoke on the importance of can design, exploring the possibilities the can presents to brands and how brewers can best take advantage of its 360 degree design canvas.
Moreover, to coincide with the event, we also launched a brand new version of our popular free app, Can Creator, offering a great new label design option for craft drink brands. For the first time, brands and designers wanting to visualise and share their creations in 3D, can apply artwork to a label template for virtual application onto a 33cl can.
We also held a special networking breakfast for key bloggers and writers in the beer world, so that they could meet the Can Makers and craft brewers to discuss the future of the craft beer industry. It was an excellent relationship building event and we secured some great coverage, including pieces by beer influencers Mashtun and Meow, Malin Norman and Irish Beer Snob.
Our annual Market Report highlighted that three of the top four supermarkets have doubled their craft beer ranges stocked in the past year. This creates an excellent opportunity for cans where their space efficiency on shelf is particularly attractive. In the take-home beer sector, Nielsen data also highlighted that there has also been particular growth in retail sales of 33cl cans – the preferred size pack for craft beer and soft drinks. In fact, Nielsen reports retail sales of craft beer have doubled in the past two years and contributed nearly 50% of the value share of beer growth in 2016. Mixers volumes also grew by 9%, no doubt linked to the popularity of gin and various cocktails in cans.
In July we launched a whitepaper with exporting advice for craft drink makers keen to can their drink. It was particularly timely given the UK’s move towards Brexit and craft drinks makers desire for growth: as export is the key. The paper was covered by the media and is also available for download.
Our media campaign continued to underline the drinks can’s market leadership in the packaging sector. Some great pieces standout, including a double-page spread in Imbibe on the rising trend of canned craft beer written by key influencer Jane Peyton. In August, The Guardian gave us the fantastic headline: ‘Can cans usurp bottles as the containers of the future’ and called it ‘the biggest drinks trend of the year’. And wrapping up the year Packaging Gazette featured an opinion article by our Chairman, Martin Constable, spotlighting the can’s full sustainability story as a Permanently Available Material. It is important to underline, particularly at this time, that the industry already makes a significant contribution to the circular economy: 7 out of 10 drinks cans sold in the UK are already recycled and 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
In September, we launched our brand new Indie Drinks Can Advice site, helping brewers, craft drink makers, distillers and winemakers to get their drinks into cans. With interactive insights and video content around the infinitely recyclable can, the site also contains expert interviews and the all-important list of suppliers who can help brands get into can for the first time.
Towards the end of this year, the MPMA Metal Pack of the Year award was awarded to the can for Minor Figures Black Nitro. Featuring a widget on the bottom of the can, it ensures a continuous flow of nitrogen upon opening – and once applied, the coffee is then infused with bubbles to produce a ‘draught-style’ black cold brew. The can was considered to be highly innovative by the judges, with the ability to bring cold brew nitro coffee to mainstream retailers without the need of refrigeration.
In addition, we announced the latest Nielsen data in November showing that cans now make up a quarter of all craft beer sales in the UK in multiple groceries and off-licences, increasing 327% from January to August 2017. This can be attributed to the fact that consumers, particularly millennials, are increasingly looking for the best tasting product in lightweight packaging which have standout designs and are also easily recyclable.
And we left our best news to last. In early December, we announced that aluminium beverage cans have now been certified as the world’s most recycled drinks container, according to independent research by Resource Recycling Systems (RRS). Metal, particularly aluminium, has long been a leader in recycling because it is a permanently available material that can be recycled again and again, without losing any quality of its structural integrity. It is important that metal packaging is fully recognised in the consumers’ eyes as the model for real recycling. To reach this objective, Can Maker’s continued support of consumer engagement campaigns, like EveryCanCounts and MetalMatters, are crucial.
Finally, our Can Makers and Indie Drinks Can Advice information service helplines have been busier than ever this year. With the new markets in growth and with so many options now available, we’re always happy to help those looking to get into cans.
Now, as we come to the end of 2017, we look forward to carrying out our exciting plans for 2018. These include a brand new Can Maker website and lots more besides… Watch this space!
From everyone at the Can Makers, Happy Christmas and we hope you have a prosperous New Year.