Can Makers celebrate 85 years of the beer can

The Can Makers association is celebrating the 85th anniversary of the beer can, launching its limited edition Canniversary Ale in partnership with Felinfoel Brewery, the first in the world to can craft ale.

It follows news that sales of cans are booming, the pandemic accelerating what was already notable growth and driving demand to record highs.

Simon Gresty, chairman of the Can Makers association, said: “After more than 80 years of continuous innovation, the beverage can has played a pivotal role in the dramatic rise of craft beers, thanks largely to the design possibilities it offers as well as its convenience and environmental credentials.”

Purpose built in 1878, Felinfoel Brewery, which beat rival Buckley’s Brewers to the prize, produced its first cans of craft ale in 1935, noting that they had developed the can ‘to hold the perfect beer’, unlike pioneers in the U.S. whose first cans were suitable only for pasteurised beer.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs said: “This has been an extremely difficult year and I am proud of the way in which communities and industry have responded to extraordinary challenges, keeping as many businesses open as possible, operating not just safely but remarkably successfully.

“It is particularly pleasing to see pioneering Welsh businesses like Felinfoel Brewery celebrate a key milestone in partnership with the Can Makers association. The can manufacturing industry and food and drink sector play a vital role today in the Welsh economy, and because metal beverage cans can be recycled again and again without any loss in quality, they are a sustainable option too as we work together towards a more resource efficient future.”

But it’s not just the brewers of craft beers that love cans. Cocktails in a can were recently added to the basket of goods used by the UK statistics office to calculate inflation and increasing numbers of premium brands are adopting sleek 250ml and 200ml cans to package high quality wines, spirits and mixers.

Gresty added: “Demand for cans has never been greater with billions of cans and ends now shipped in the UK every year. Managing the extra requirements throughout the pandemic, has brought many additional challenges but the industry has proved its resilience.

“Can makers have adapted to meet the extraordinary levels of demand that are being seen not just in the UK but globally. Crucially, the infrastructure is already in place with the capacity to recycle every beverage can produced in the UK and every local authority collects beverage cans. The beverage can is now the most recycled drinks pack in the world.”

Described by the industry as the shift from keg to can, ongoing restrictions affecting the hospitality industry have seen sales of cans for consumption in the home soar, and demand looks set to continue rising.