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A Brief (and Condensed) History of the Beer Can

The practice of putting beer into cans has been around for the better part of a century, and although cans are ubiquitous today, it's been a slow march to achieve that level of use.

Jaime Jurado Jul 9, 2018 - 8 min read

A Brief (and Condensed) History of the Beer Can Primary Image

What many consider the first canned beer was by the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, New Jersey, with an initial pilot of 2,000 cans of 3.2 percent ABV beer for consumer feedback (91 percent positive) and then commercially in 1935 with its "Krueger's Finest" along with its Cream Ale. But even before Krueger's first sale, Pabst and Anheuser-Busch had tried canning experimentally in the 1920s, but then came Prohibition.

Krueger's 12-ounce beer can was manufactured by American Can Company, and within five months of the package's production, the company was running 550 percent of its pre-can production. Next to follow was Northampton Brewery in Northampton, Pennsylvania, with its "Tru Blu Ale" and "Tru Blu White Seal Beer" in cans manufactured by the National Can Company.

In late 1935, Schlitz developed an entirely different beer-can design, sealed with a crown closure, the same as used on beer bottles. It was called a "spout top" or a "cone top." Consumer resistance to drinking from flat-top cans opened with an opener piercing the top was overcome with cone tops, and conversion of existing bottling lines was much, much easier and cheaper with fillers formerly for bottles being modified. The first beer cans outside the United States were all cone tops, made from three pieces: a base, the main body, and a cap.

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