It’s an age-old, hard-fought debate. Is beer better out of a bottle or a can? Whether you’re brewing your own project at home or packaging products at your brewery, choosing between bottles and cans is a big decision. But we’re going to try making it a little easier.
Is Beer Better in a Bottle or Can?
The first (and most important) question that most people ask is whether beer tastes better in bottles or cans. People can have some very strong opinions about this, especially among beer aficionados. We think it's probably a matter of… taste? But there are people who have tried to find an objective answer.
A scientific study conducted in Europe found that, in a blind taste test, 150 beer drinkers didn’t come to a consensus on whether canned or bottled beer tasted better. The study did find that, when drinkers could see the bottles or cans, there was a pre-existing psychological bias towards bottles among the European participants of the study. But it noted that positive perceptions of canned beer have been on the rise in North America, particularly in the craft beer market.
The study also pointed out that there are several other factors in choosing beer cans vs. bottles, including cost, transportation, and environmental impact.
Does Beer Last Longer in Bottles or Cans?
Cans will claim the victory on this point. Despite commonly using light-resistant glass, beer bottles still let in small amounts of light. When beer is exposed to too much UV light, the flavors start to break down and the beer gets “skunky.” Also, the caps on beer bottles typically aren’t 100% airtight, and they can let in small amounts of air over time which will affect the flavor.
How Long Is Beer Good for in a Can?
Beer cans don’t let in any light, and the seam (if you’re using a good can seamer) is completely airtight with a hermetic seal. The exact amount of time it will take for beer to expire in a can will depend on the type of beer, how it was filled/sealed, and whether it's stored in a cold or warm area. But many canned beers—when filled and sealed properly—can last at least six months. If stored in a cold environment, they can last up to a year or more.
Is Glass or Aluminum Better for the Environment?
Modern consumers, especially younger generations, are caring more about sustainability in their food and drinks. Studies have found that customers are willing to pay more for beer if it is made with sustainable practices. With that in mind, it’s good to know whether beer cans or bottles are more environmentally friendly.
Research has shown that aluminum cans are more sustainable and better for the environment than other types of packaging, especially glass bottles, for a number of reasons.
Glass requires more energy and natural resources to make than aluminum, which results in more carbon emissions. Even bottles made from recycled glass take a large amount of energy to produce compared to aluminum cans, which can be recycled using only 5% of the energy required to make new ones. Cans also weigh less than glass bottles, which reduces fuel consumption in transportation.
More Reasons to Choose Canned Beer vs. Bottled Beer
We’ve listed some of the main advantages of beer cans vs. bottles above, but there are plenty more worth mentioning.
- Storage: Cans are much easier to stack, which makes them easier to store and transport than bottles.
- Durability: When you drop a glass bottle on the floor, it makes a big mess. If you drop a can on the floor, it may make a little mess, but there will be a lot less broken glass.
- Cost: The exact cost of cans vs. bottles will depend on how much you order and where you order them from. But cans are generally cheaper than glass bottles.
- Advertising: Glass bottles have labels that you can customize, but with a can you can design the whole body. Many of our customers have created unique and eye-catching designs for their cans to make them stand out from the crowd.
Where to Buy Cans
If you’ve decided that your brewery should be using cans, you’ll need a place that sells high-quality cans with excellent customer support. That’s where Oktober Can Seamers can help. We offer brite, “drink local,” and custom-labeled cans. They are available in a wide range of sizes, including 8 and 12 oz SLEEK, 12, 16, 19.2, and 24 oz regular cans, and 32 oz CrowlerTM cans. All purchased cans also come with their respective ends. We also carry steel cans with vented ends used for roasted coffee beans.
If you need larger quantities or the shipping costs are prohibitive in your area, we can help you find a supplier that better fits your needs.
Ends and Carriers
The cans we sell include ends, but if you’re in need of some ends, we have those in stock too. We also offer can carriers, which are especially popular for breweries selling their drinks to-go. For production runs, we also offer case flats.
Buying a Can Seamer
If you’re adding cans to your process, you’ll need a way to seal them up. We offer multiple types of can seamers to fit different budgets and goals. They are compact, quiet, and easy to use. Each can seamer is ready to start working just a few minutes after you take it out of the box.
Our latest and greatest can seamer is the Model 8, which is a fully automatic canning machine. It’s able to seal up a can within seconds with just the push of a button. For our hobbyists, we offer seamers such as the SL1 Homebrewer, which is a great option for people who are just getting started.