Today is National Beer Can Appreciation Day! We’re celebrating the fabulous day 82 years ago today, when beer was first sold in cans. The Krueger Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia is credited with making the first beer can. Made out of steel, it weighed almost 4 ounces and was opened with a church key. Do you know what a church key is? We’ve heard from some staff here at Your Beer Show that they actually have one. OMG!
Krueger Brewing Company produced that first beer in a can just weeks before the repeal of Prohibition. Krueger’s took the risk with American Can Company to make canning drinkable beer possible. Loyal Krueger’s drinkers favored the can over the bottle 9-1. How do you feel about cans versus bottles? Tell us about it.
Now, here’s some other landmark “can” dates:
1935 – Cone-Top
The G. Heilemann Brewing Company of La Crosse, WI introduced cone-top cans. These fit existing bottling lines convenient for small brewers with small budgets.
1963 -Pull Tab
The Pittsburgh Brewing Company (in Pittsburgh, of course) transformed the beer can with what we know as “pop tops”. Iron City Beer was introduced in self-opening cans with pull tabs. Those pull tabs became a safety concern at beaches, parks, back yards and anywhere people drank from cans, because of their sharp edges.
1975 – Stay Tab
The Falls City Brewing Company of Louisville, KY introduced the “Stay Tab” It’s a tab stiff enough to be bent, yet flexible and tough enough that it could be lifted and retracted, without breaking. Daniel F. Cudzik, an engineer with Reynolds Metals, searched for a “convenience top” that was “more practical and less prone to litter”. While the idea might seem simple to people raised on nothing but stay-on tabs, the design required some elegant engineering (and some subsequent legal battles over alleged patent infringements).
So, Happy National Beer Can Appreciation Day! Do you have a favorite beer can design? Maybe you collect them. Got any pictures to show us? We wanna see ’em! Share them in that comment section below.