Bottle or Can? Which do you prefer?
BE beerorcan

In the beer world, one of the hottest discussions at the moment is about its containers.

Is beer in cans better? Do you prefer bottles?

Some say there is often a slight metallic taste coming from cans. They also say that glass is neutral and doesn’t impact beer taste.

But since 1935, beer manufactures have been lining their cans with a thin plastic to avoid the contact between the drink and the metal.

Cans supporters say that it is airtight and blocks all light out, allowing a better environment for the liquid. But there is no problem in the market related to beers in bottles, especially in brow bottles that can block almost all the light as well.

At the end the drinking experience makes the difference.

Taste is actually a combination of flavor, smell and texture.

The metallic taste sensation comes from the smell of the beer can. If you pour the liquid into a glass you will avoid this problem. When you drink straight from the can (or the bottle) the beer is not exposed to the air and the sensorial experience is not complete: you are not able to analyze color, don’t fully appreciate smell and even the taste is affected because of the lack of head.

Most of what we think we taste is actually what we smell.

The Huffington Post conducted a blind taste test, in which 25 people tasted 4 different beer brands (Budweiser, Sapporo, Sierra Nevada and Heineken) in both options: cans and bottles. Beer was poured in cups, so no one could identify them.

Results were quite amazing: tasters preferred canned beer! Only by a small fraction, but 75% preferred canned beer. Another interesting result: only 54% correctly identified the canned beer. That shows is harder to tell the difference than tasters might have thought.

The main reason why craft brewers prefer bottles is the economics.

Canning operations are more expensive to set up and the minimum can orders are very large, making almost impossible to a brewery starts its operations without bottles.

Since most of the good beers are brewed by small business, the bottles became a symbol of a good craft beer.

But the market is changing. Beer cans are lighter, more compact and stackable. Therefore, transportation costs are much lower.

Sierra Nevada recently launched two of their most famous beers in cans. Ska Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery use cans, as well.

Samuel Adams spent over a million dollars to create a new can to improve drinking experience for craft beer lovers. The opening is larger and located slightly further towards the center of the can, away from the lips and towards the nose; naturally opening up the mouth allowing for more air flow and positions the drinker’s nose closer to the hop aromas.

There were more than 150 craft breweries in the US with canned products in 2013, and this number keeps growing.

I can’t say which is better, but I bet we will see a whole lot more canned craft beers around in the next few years!

What about you? Which one do you prefer?


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