Bottle vs can

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beerrat, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. beerrat

    beerrat Crusader (746) Nov 28, 2013 Virginia
    Society Trader

    More and more beers in cans than in bottles so is the bottle going to be history? I think bottle beer taste better. Cans don’t get sunlight so they store better on the shelf. What do you think can or bottle? Which is better?
  2. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,633) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    I used to prefer cans back when I was a young man without a bottle opener in my pocket all the time.

    But that was before I mastered the skills to open a bottle with a lighter.

    Nowadays though I’m all for can for different reasons. Without too much technical aspects; easier/lighter to carry and trade, and much more convenient to stock too.
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,568) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Well, with the current aluminum shortage, glass bottles are making a slight comeback. Will it last? Who knows?
    FBarber, beergoot and Ranbot like this.
  4. traction

    traction Defender (604) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia
    Society Trader

    I know of the aluminum shortage but the glass that is used to make vaccination syringes and vials is a specific glass and their is a massive shortage of it right now. I have seen multiple people predict even if the world developed a 100% perfect vaccine we simply don't have the supply global supply chain to distribute it all without it taking a couple years.
  5. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (42) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey

    Unless a brewery is large enough to install a bottling line they have no choice except to can their beer. There are a number of mobil canning lines but I know of 0 mobil bottling lines.
    SFACRKnight, beergoot and jonphisher like this.
  6. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,250) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    So here we go again, another cans vs. bottle thread.
    Personally, I am sold on cans due to the science.
    • Zero light invasion
    • easier to to make oxygen free at packaging
    • no oxygen leakage (in)
    • less shipping/shelf/storage space per volume
    • less shipping weight
    • More efficient recycling stream
    • More square inches of label space per package volume
    • Easier to read date codes (most of the time)
    I think any preference to glass bottles is psychosomatic and thats fine. Like what you like.
    I remember 20+ years ago before I was sold on cans that there were can industry ads saying that "cans cool faster" and I used to always think "and warm faster". Of course that was before I became a real beer nerd and mostly have to have (proper) glassware (what a geek, huh?).

    As to the can shortage, I think its real. Thank's Covid. However, I don't think many breweries can switch back and forth between the two packages, so I don't know how much glass will get a back wind out of this. I've never heard of a mobile bottling operation, but there are quite a few mobile canning companies. Medium sized breweries probably have capital tied up in either canning or bottling lines but not both and none of them are investing in new equipment in these times.
    LeRose, jzeilinger, bret27 and 13 others like this.
  7. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (243) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I almost exclusively buy cans for reasons that have been discussed ad-nauseum (preserves beer better, compactable, easily recyclable, more environmentally efficient).

    I will really only get bottles if it’s a beer I reeeally like and that’s the only format. Mainly Belgians, a sixer of Double Dog every so often.

    bottles are too clunky, loud, able to be shattered, and not as enjoyable to drink from compared to a can.
    StoutsAllDay and Shanex like this.
  8. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,568) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    There are several mobile bottlers in my area. They were being used before cans became a big thing. often, the same company has both bottle and can units.
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  9. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,568) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    And, aluminum is going to seltzer and energy drink cans. Plus, the tariffs the current administration has enacted has reduced the amount Chinese aluminum being imported.

    Alcoa is closing down a large aluminum smelter in my county. That has no current effect, but might in the future.
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  10. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,568) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Is one many breweries here in the NW use. Since the shut-down they're working 6 day weeks. Busier than a 1-handed paper hanger.
    woodchipper likes this.
  11. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (42) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey

    What side of the moon is Kiribati on?
    eppCOS likes this.
  12. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,568) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    It's where every day starts.
  13. jonphisher

    jonphisher Disciple (329) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey

    My preference goes to cans only cause u can stack more of them in my small beer fridge. I can only put 4 12 oz bottles per row, but 12 oz cans I could stack and fit 8 :grin:

    16 oz cans have no benefit in this scenario though.
  14. Troy-Hawaii

    Troy-Hawaii Savant (935) Jun 15, 2015 Hawaii

    I like bottles as it makes the beer seem more upscale than it does in a can. When you go to a restaurant or a bar if they served you a beer in a can versus a bottle it makes it seem like a lower class restaurant. If you have a party with a chest full of bottles versus cans it seems a little classier. Just a presentation preference.
  15. defunksta

    defunksta Champion (859) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    Cans all the way. As others have said: Better preservation, easier storage, longer shelf-life. Hopefully this will be universal in the future.
    beergoot likes this.
  16. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (74) Aug 24, 2020 California

    better not show up at my poolside with glass bottles unless you plan to go back in the house to reload one of my nice pool-compatible plastic beer "glasses"
    beergoot likes this.
  17. Insomniac

    Insomniac Initiate (181) Nov 5, 2019 Canada

    As discussed above, cans are preferred and superior, but try telling that to the overwhelming number of breweries in Belgium and Quebec, who continue to deliver the vast majority of their product in bottles.
    beergoot and Shanex like this.
  18. jonphisher

    jonphisher Disciple (329) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey

    If I could get beer like I get milk and reuse bottles. Like drop them back off at the store or brewery. Glass all the way! I feel like I’ve read some places in Europe do this, anyone? And I also read some PNW state tried to implement to allow this. I go to pretty extremes to avoid waste of any kind. Yea I know growlers, but they’re way pricier, and none of our local places have done growlers since Covid started. I’m assuming when it’s all over they’ll refill them again.
    beergoot likes this.
  19. papposilenus

    papposilenus Meyvn (1,275) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    I used to think that a 22oz bomber was the ideal single serving size. I have come to understand that it is, in fact, the 750ml bottle.
  20. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,080) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I saw a mobile bottling operation in Australia. It was a perfectly up-fitted tractor trailer that traveled to a number of regional wineries in West Australia south and east of Perth. Absolutely stunning terrain and people. Had I gone there in my 20s I would have stayed.
    #20 rgordon, Sep 14, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  21. Grounder

    Grounder Initiate (73) Jun 20, 2019 Illinois

    I used to work in a chemistry lab and I routinely sealed prepared reagents with beer style caps, in air-free atmosphere. This is done for safe storage and easy removal of small amounts - the cap is not all metal and has a self-sealing polymer septum in the middle. My point it - these things were much, much more sensitive than beer, to everything, and they survived perfectly fine.
  22. Troy-Hawaii

    Troy-Hawaii Savant (935) Jun 15, 2015 Hawaii

    I've always thought that canned beer can sometimes get a metallic taste as the aluminum reacts to certain ingredients. With glass you don't have that problem. If there is a lining then that is another issue as now people are finding that canned goods leach chemicals into food. So I think bottles preserve the true taste of the beer without any alteration.
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  23. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,567) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Bottles. Seven-ounce brown bottles. For everything.
  24. JBogan

    JBogan Champion (859) Jul 15, 2007 California

    Most of the beers that I prefer to drink come in bottles. For instance I just can't see pouring a Rochefort, Cantillon, Orval and similar beers out of a can. To each his or her own though.

    On occasion I like a good pale ale or pils and then in that case a bottle or a can seems appropriate.
    NickSMpls, Hamme, StoutElk_92 and 3 others like this.
  25. Grounder

    Grounder Initiate (73) Jun 20, 2019 Illinois

    I don't buy that argument either. To me it's all about cost. Cans are cheaper to manufacturers, and for a long time cans were relegated to holding the likes of Natural Light, while the more upscale beers were sold in bottles. In fact, for years I had rule - skip everything that can be bought in cans. So whatever line of bullshit your brewer is trying to sell you, the only real reason is that canning is cheaper.
    HouseofWortship likes this.
  26. micada

    micada Devotee (467) Jul 13, 2015 New York

    You make a lot of sense. My mind thinks bottles are better because they won’t impart any metallic flavor, but if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had a canned beer that gave me a metallic vibe.

    That said, my bias was so pronounced that I passed on buying A Deal With the Devil because it was a waxed can. I really like barleywines, and that’s supposed to be super awesome. It was in a can, so...

    Minds are terrible places to be.
    woodchipper, dcotom and beergoot like this.
  27. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Champion (854) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    I don’t buy the can argument either. Beer goes in my fridge or in a cool dark place- I don’t expose it to light. How long are people keeping bottles of beer that they worry about oxidation? I drink my hoppies before they fade, which is probably well before a bottle would show any oxidation. My stouts age for a few years- doesn’t the canning manufacturer only guarantee beer stability in a can for a year? I drink my beer out of glasses not bottles or cans (ironically as I write this
    I’m actually drinking a beer out of a bottle because I know it isn’t very good and it isn’t worthy of my time to pour it into a glass like I do with 99% of my beers and then hand clean the glass). If cans or bottles were a superior vessel to drink out of, bars and breweries would put their draft pours in them. I just don’t like beer touching an artificial liner in a can, glass seems safer.
    Hamme likes this.
  28. Balliarno

    Balliarno Initiate (40) Sep 14, 2020 France

    I always picked up bottles but since covid-19 took over everything i have seen more cans in the market. I recently picked up a box of cans and i think im happy to take both now. I dont know why i was so anti can but a pandemic has opened my eyes.
  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,660) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is not me but all of my local beer retailers have lots and lots of old beer on their shelves. Lots of oxidation is occurring (or has occurred) prior to purchase.

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  30. dele

    dele Initiate (72) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    In general, I find a can is the better vessel for packaging and storing beer.

    However, glass has one big advantage, which is that since it is thicker, it retains its coldness and insulates the beer inside better than a can does. When I'm not drinking out of a glass (for whatever reason), I would rather drink from a bottle than a can, because the beer inside will stay cold better.

    Enjoying a few Sierra Nevadas while tending the grill for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon is a great example of a time I prefer a bottled beer.
  31. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (11,371) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I CANnot believe that no one has invoked the name of woodyChANdler, founder of The CANQuest (tm)! It is one man's stated quest to drink, review & rate EVERY CANned beer in existence, beginning in early-2004.

    My CANtics are legendary & Russ Powell of "Craft CANs" + his partner in crime, @Another6Pack plus myself are generally recognized as the earliest ChANpions of CANned craft beers.

    My current sCANce is that while all beers CAN be CANned, not all of them should be. Fruited sours are notorious for beCANming grenades if not CANtinually refrigerated.

    Also, part of the AL CAN shortage is due to the standard packaging format of 16-fl oz vice 12-fl oz, CANpled with a lack of incentive to recycle. Larger format with less returning to the recycling stream.
    Premo88 and StoutElk_92 like this.
  32. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,205) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I understand why someone would have a position like yours, but please don't characterize someone who prefers glass bottles as someone who is suffering from imaginary factors and the opposite position being one of "science." If science is simply looking at data, then anyone can pick the data that they want to support whatever idea they already have in their head and then ignore everything else. I don't know if that's infinitely different than imagining things to support an idea. Someone can take the exact same "science vs psychosomatic" position as you but flip it to be pro-bottle and anti-can.
  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,509) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Modern cans are preferred for me over bottles. The old fashioned cans of the 70s were lined, but the cans imparted a metallic taste if you drank it from the can, those cans were about bulletproof.
    Premo88 likes this.
  34. beer_beer

    beer_beer Disciple (343) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    I kind of like the aesthetics and variation the bottles provide. But...shipping costs. The glass doubles the weight of the beer. For that reason I CAN get beer at the same cost from the States as from the UK, as Europe still seems to be in love with bottles.
    Shanex likes this.
  35. RasiakSnaps

    RasiakSnaps Initiate (16) Jun 9, 2019 England

    I like the nostalgia of drinking a beer from a bottle, to be honest. I get that obviously canned beer is fresher for styles like DIPA etc, but taking a gulp from a bottle of miscellaneous lager will always seem nostalgic to me. Long Live The Bottle!
    Hamme likes this.
  36. Grounder

    Grounder Initiate (73) Jun 20, 2019 Illinois

    And yet in the US bottled German beer costs the same or less than canned domestic analogs.
  37. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Champion (854) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    Are there any studies that measured oxidization in the same batch of beer in bottles vs cans at set periods of age?
  38. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,205) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    A truth for one brewer's setup won't necessarily be the same for another's. If I remember correctly, respected brewers have talked here about having lower TPO in their bottles vs cans and vice versa. (That's not even getting into TPO variations on one system.) So a study like the above would only provide one piece of a very complicated puzzle. Would you rather have a can from a brewer (or packager) who did a terrible job at reducing oxygen or a bottle from a brewer that was diligent about having low oxygen levels?
    LeRose, nc41 and HouseofWortship like this.
  39. mogulskier

    mogulskier Initiate (108) Feb 3, 2019 California

    Prefer cans myself. Never had any metallic issues or quality problems. But Pliny is in bottles, so too is BareBottle. Lagunitas still has bottles, as well as Stone, Goose Island, Bottle Logic, etc.

    No real problems with either packaging. So long as quality is there, I really don't care.

    With shipping and overall convenience, the can has many advantages.
    StoutElk_92 likes this.
  40. joerooster2

    joerooster2 Initiate (17) Aug 18, 2020 District of Columbia

    I don't really have a preference unless I'm going to be drinking at the beach or something like that where I have to pack in/pack out my trash, I prefer cans 100% of the time then. Not a fan of 16oz cans in 4 packs though.