The Session 98 announcement: Cans or bottles?

The Session 98 announcement: Cans or bottles?

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts The Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. (Find more info on Brookston Beer Bulletin.)

The last time was “Up-and-Coming Beer Locations,” hosted by Our Tasty Travels. The topic for The Session this month is: Cans or bottles?

Read the roundup: The Session 98 roundup: Cans or bottles?

I ask this same question to every guest of MicroBrewr Podcast. I think it’s an interesting study into both industry and consumer trends.

The craft beer industry is neat, in that the producers are often consumers as well. When a brewery owner answers this question, she gives her perspective not only as a manufacturer of an alcoholic beverage product, but also as a consumer of beer.

A bottling line or a canning line is a substantial financial investment. So this question is a significant consideration to anyone starting a brewery.

The answers give great insight. However, one thing I see lacking from the discussion is solid data.

Of course aluminum can manufacturers and glass bottle manufacturers each have an interest in showing their packaging is best. I have heard a lot of arguments on both sides, even data and statistics, but I haven’t heard many references from third-party studies. If you can offer this, that would be a great help.

In any case, I’m looking forward to reading the answers not only to see where the consumer trends are going, but also as research for the brewery I dream of opening.

Read: Cans or Bottles? 27 industry experts reveal their preference

What’s your perspective?

Will you write from the consumer point of view? From which kind of packaging do you prefer to drink beer? Why do you prefer that packaging?

Will you write from a manufacturer perspective? How do you want your brand portrayed? Which packaging suits your beer best?

Will you write from a distributors perspective? Which packaging do you prefer to transport and stock at retail locations?

Some other insight?

RELATED: Cans or bottles? Surprising results from two blind taste tests

To participate in The Session Beer Blogging Friday, leave a comment below with a link to your post on or before the first Friday of the month, April 3, 2015.

So far, The Session next month is still open. If you want to host The Session 99, check out the guidelines and reserve the next free month or any specific month not yet taken. To do this, please contact Jay (.) Brooks (@) gmail (.) com or Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer via email at stan (@) appellationbeer (.) com.


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20 replies
  1. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    Feels cleaner to me. I totally understand Brett’s point of view though. Just a personally preference for me, putting the environment and product protection aside. ()

    • Nathan Pierce
      Nathan Pierce says:

      Yes, I am also still leaning toward bottles, albeit only slightly. Talking with so many people in MicroBrewr Podcast has opened my eyes to aluminum cans. Thanks for your comment, mom.

  2. Colin Cummings
    Colin Cummings says:

    Personally I’m with Brett on the arguments for cans. While Yellow City Co-op will neither bottle nor can immediately, I would think as a brewery we would lead toward aluminum. You can do much cooler labeling, and the trend is new enough that it’s still novel. Plus I relish the idea of packaging in 16 oz. cans since a pint is the universally preferred serving size in my house.

    • Nathan Pierce
      Nathan Pierce says:

      Oh wow, the 16 oz. can… One pint… I don’t know why I never before made the connection. Although this does raise some interesting marketing questions… Purely from a profit perspective, why sell 16 ounces of beer when I can sell 12 ounces. I think you have forever changed my perspective as a consumer…

  3. Nathan Pierce
    Nathan Pierce says:

    Thanks Hayden, for your thoughtful contribution.

    That’s an interesting question about dissolved oxygen. Yes, I recall some guests on MicroBrewr Podcast saying that cans have less dissolved oxygen, and a guest or two saying bottles have less. This is my struggle with any of this “data”: Advocates on either side say that their preference is better. It’s difficult to know what is true.

    And I haven’t heard references to actual studies except in their own brewery labs. It would be interesting to see studies from some unbiased third-parties. And studies testing more than one bottling line vs. more than one canning line. Ideally, a study would look at several breweries, using several different bands of equipment.

  4. Carl Glass
    Carl Glass says:

    I live in Colorado where cans are increasingly used, even by new craft breweries. I am amazed when going to the local liquor store and spotting cans from brand new breweries. I visited Finkel & Garf Brewing after discovering 8 different canned beers. I was told that the canning line (purchased new) allowed them the flexibility of distributing any beer they make, even the small batches. They use paper stick on labels, so they have the requirement of purchasing 90,000 blank cans at a time.

    I have to say that the weight and breaking risk of bottles are two big negatives. When visiting Fort Collins Brewery I noticed the trays under the bottling line were loaded with glass shards and the brewer told me the weight of a pallet of filled bottles and while I don’t remember the number it was quite large.

    Also from a personal stand point, I love the shorter time to cool my beer that comes in cans compared to bottles.
    I will admit that when at home, I pour the beer out of a can into a drinking glass, but when hiking around, the can is the only thing I ever pack.

    • Nathan Pierce
      Nathan Pierce says:

      Thanks for the thoughts, Carl.
      With mobile canning, it’s easier than ever for tiny breweries to start packaging their beer for distribution. It’s often labeled with stickers or shrink-wrap labels. You can hear more about mobile canning on MicroBrewr Podcast 048.
      I usually pour my beer into a glass whether it’s from a can or a bottle. I just like to see it.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Yesterday was the first Friday of the month, meaning time for another round of The Session was in order—collaborative beer blogging, inviting bloggers of all type to participate by sharing their thoughts on a common topic. My post is a day late because I had a book signing event yesterday where, ironically, there was discussion on this month’s topic (suggested and hosted by Nathan Pierce of Microbrewr): Cans or bottles? […]

  2. Session # 98 says:

    […] topic for The Session this month is: Cans or bottles? And our host, the Microbrewr is looking for empirical […]

  3. […] This month’s session is hosted by Nathan Pierce at Microbrewr [sic]. He wants to know about: […]

  4. […] brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month Micro Brewr hosts, giving us the topic “Cans or […]

  5. […] up this Friday, the 3rd of April, and this month’s host is Microbrewr with the question, Cans or Bottles? Something I’ve written more than a few words […]

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