I stopped off at my local Oddbins to pick up some beers yesterday, and with a 25-minute walk home ahead of me, I chose cans (the Pressure Drop and Mondo beers above notwithstanding). We’ve all seen the infographics and articles proclaiming the superiority of cans as a container of beer, and I’m sure the science is sound. The issue is how the beer gets into the cans in the first place, and this post from Thornbridge Brewery’s Rob Lovatt was a welcome alternative perspective on the clamour for cans.
There were many other beers in the shop that I haven’t tried, but rather than broaden my beer-drinking horizons, I went with the least physically taxing option. True, I’ve had negative experiences with cans, but I’ve similarly had poor bottled beers. I’m unsure of mobile canning lines; the most consistent cans come from breweries that have purchased their own canning lines in my opinion (e.g. Moor and Beavertown).
Quality control issues aside, what I’m more interested in is whether the recent upsurge in canned beer has had an effect on the sales figures of breweries that don’t, or can’t, put their beer in cans. I’m only one person, but I habitually choose canned beers over bottles out of convenience. I could order more beer online, but there’s an abundance of bottle shops in north London and I like the personalised service.
One consequence of this is that I drink fewer Kernel beers nowadays, and I miss out on seasonals, one-offs and collaborations (it’s not practical to hire a canning line for a seasonal beer). I wonder if there are others like me, or am I just very, very lazy? Do pubs and bottle shops buy cans over bottles as they’re easier to store? I’m uneasy about the potential impact on breweries that don’t have the money to invest in a canning line, while remaining complicit by actively choosing cans over bottles. I’ll ponder this some more once I’ve opened another Gamma Ray.