Come On, Man: Cans Are Definitely Better Than Bottles

Come On, Man: Cans Are Definitely Better Than Bottles


By Adam T. Schick for Indiana On Tap

A few weeks back, my good friend and trusted colleague Donovan Wheeler wrote an op-ed defending bottles over cans as the superior craft beer delivery devices. Wheels is someone I genuinely look up to, as an incredibly hard worker, a gifted writer, and as a genuinely good person, which is why saying this next part is so hard for me.

Wheels: you couldn’t more wrong, my friend.

Cans are one of the hot trends in the craft beer scene now, and for a lot of really good reasons. What follows is a point-by-point rebuttal to Wheel’s notion that cans are the inferior containers for craft beer. Read, think, then join me on the Aluminium Side.

1. The Feel
Donovan thinks that bottles are superior to cans in part because they just feel better in your hand. There’s more surface to grab the bottle from, therefore it’s just “better.” Buddy, you can also hook your pinky finger under the bottom of the can. It’s not that hard. Also, holding a can is like holding a little barrel of beer with each drink. Who doesn’t want to feel like Andre the Giant while getting their drink on? Plus, disposing of cans can be fun! Want to impress your buddies or significant other? Just crush that bad boy against your head! You now have something that’s easily disposable without the hassle of picking up pieces of glass.

You can also toss beer cans to your buddies more easily. You’re the Andrew Luck of delivering alcohol to your friends! Try that with bottles and you could end up with a mess on your hands.

2. Contact
Donovan makes note that beer hits your mouth differently coming out of a bottle than it does a can, and that difference actually affects how that beer tastes. He’s actually 100% right in this: the order and manner in which we bite into or sip on our foods and drinks definitely affects how certain things taste. It’s why mayo belongs on the top of the sandwich and mustard on the bottom. That’s just science. But this is beer, people. If we wanted to extract the purest taste from what we were drinking, we’d pour that beer out of its can or bottle and into the right style of glassware. Cans are about convenience. You’re not lugging around a suitcase filled with the many styles of beer glasses to every bar or brewery you go to, are you? So drop the purity act.

3. Temperature Properties
His next argument is that beer warms in a can faster than in a bottle. Sure, there’s some science to back that. But cans also get colder quicker. As someone who lives excessively, I want my beer in me as fast as possible. Plus, the advent of koozies has pretty much made that argument moot. Next.

4. Packaging & Artwork
He might have me beat here if we’re talking about bombers. I mean, it’s hard to beat any of Three Floyds’ artwork on their bombers. But, come on Donovan! Sierra Nevada’s cans are literally artwork. Rhinegeist has some of the best labelling out there right now. Locally, take a look at the work by 18th StreetIndiana CityDaredevilBlack AcreTin Man, or Burn ‘Em, to name a few. He can get all emotional and wax poetic about how he was drawn into craft beer because of the labeling on bottles of Barley Island’s Dirty Helen, but this argument is a draw at best. 

5. The Four-Pack Rip Off
Okay…well…the thing is… okay he has me beat here. But you can still get delicious six packs of Indiana City, Tow Yard, and many more for at or below $10.00. So there’s that. 

Look, cans have a multitude of other benefits: they’re more environmentally friendly (cans contain around 40% recycled materials versus 27% in bottles); they’re more practical (you can’t take glass to the park or beech on vacation); the protect your beer from sunlight, meaning your beer is fresher; and they don’t face the same risks of contamination the bottling process does. Cans are clearly the better devices for delivering delicious craft beer to your mouth, and you, my friend, cannot tell me otherwise.   

No Comments
  • Jon F
    Posted at 16:54h, 09 November Reply

    Couldn’t agree more with this especially the part about slamming cans on your forehead. Yes!

  • Donovan Wheeler
    Posted at 17:30h, 09 November Reply

    You make some great points, my friend. Your point about throwing a can across the room and the use of coozies are duly noted. But as another friend of mine pointed out, bottles are handy if you need to smash one over the edge of the bar and create a defensive weapon in a hurry.

  • Matt
    Posted at 18:38h, 09 November Reply

    I think your point about cans being more environmentally friendly is incorrect. The strip mining process it takes to mine bauxite only comes from about four places on earth. Strip mining leaves the land completely torn up and unusable for many years. It must then be shipped a very long way and an unbelievable amount of energy is used to turn it into usable aluminum. One by product is called red mud and vast pools of it in the US are real environmental disasters and are directly linked to cancer in workers in that space.
    I will give you that the second half of the life cycle is superior to glass, but as a whole neither is superior to the other when all factors are considered from an environmental standpoint.

  • Jeremy
    Posted at 21:10h, 09 November Reply
    The link above is an article to back up what Matt posted above.
    Contamination: a bottling line and/or canning line doesn’t inherently produce any/more less contamination for the end package. Many craft breweries utilize both canning and bottling lines and they would ditch one for the other if that was the case. Proper end-product package testing is the key to ensuring quality in both bottles and cans.
    Light: Technically cans win, but this is overblown. Bottles spend most of their life in sealed boxes and the fluorescent light in liquor store coolers isn’t degrading the quality of bottled beer. As long as you don’t store bottles on the dash of your vehicle or next to your Grandma’s bay window, it will still taste delicious.
    I appreciate the back/forth banter between Adam and Donovan on this subject! Personally, I don’t think its a cans vs. bottles game. A one-size fits all approach isn’t the right way to view overall packaging for craft breweries. Some beers are meant for a bottle and some are meant to be in a can.
    I’m just happy that soo many great Indiana beers are available in a can or bottle at all. And its only gonna get better from here!

Post A Comment