Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can You Dig It?

The humble beer can continues to receive a classy makeover. Specifically in the form of labels for high-end beers.

New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colo., has become the latest -- and largest -- entry on a growing roster of craft brewers who have turned to the until-recently pedestrian aluminum can as a packaging option.

While traditionally, cans have not exactly been associated with high-brow, full-flavored beer, things began to trend in the other direction when Colorado's Oskar Blues in 2002 eschewed the bottle as its container of choice. Several other U.S. and Canadian microbreweries have since followed suit.

Proponents say cans are lighter, easier to transport, easier to recycle, and can go places bottles can't -- beaches, rivers, parks, for example.

As more and more beer drinkers warm to the idea of craft brew in a can, it may well be that side-by-side price comparisons of bottled vs. canned versions of the same beer (in this case, New Belgium's Fat Tire, for example) could make any buying decision less about bias and/or practicality and more about economics.

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