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The Beer Institute Celebrates the 78th Birthday of the Beer Can


WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Beer Institute, the trade association representing America’s brewers, importers and suppliers, celebrated the 78th anniversary of canned beer, first introduced by the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company in Richmond, Va.

While the concept of canning beer was revolutionary in 1935, in 2011 beer in cans represented 52.5 percent of all beer sold in the U.S., making cans the most popular form of package among beer drinkers, according to economic data collected by the Beer Institute. Data from 2012 will be available next month.

“Innovation and ingenuity are the bedrock of American brewing and beer importing. Cans were found to be easy to stack, extremely durable and took less time to chill,” said Beer Institute President Joe McClain. “Seventy eight years after the first beer can entered the marketplace, the brewers, importers and valuable chain of suppliers continue to provide the American consumer with a great product.”

Both large and small brewers are including more cans in their packaging mix, which includes glass bottles and draft kegs, as beer is welcomed at more occasions where people gather.

“There are numerous reasons to celebrate canned beer,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. “Beer makers and consumers continue this 78-year-old tradition because cans have been able to provide consistent quality beer across the United States. And, the can provides 100-percent protection against light, which retains the beer’s flavor and freshness. Aluminum cans are also 100-percent recyclable. In fact, recycled cans are back on store shelves in as little as 60 days.” The Can Manufacturers Institute is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States.

The beer industry is a driver of job creation and economic impact. Recent data shows that the industry includes more than 2,500 brewer and importer establishments, 3,300 beer distributor facilities and 547,000 beer-selling retail establishments. In 2011, beer sales rose 2 percent to more than $98 billion, the largest share of revenue and volume within the alcohol beverage sector.

The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans; which employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity.


The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: