Will Cans Replace Glass Bottles?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The debate between cans and glass bottles has been strongly raging on for a couple of years, especially in the beer industry. There are pros and cons of each material when it comes to generic use and both easily trump plastic.

Each container is also more suitable for certain products than the other, but the question remains – will cans replace glass bottles?

Some brewers swear that their beer tastes better in glass bottles, while other’s will argue that cans are better at preserving the flavor and richness of a quality brew. Besides aesthetics and financial concerns, brewers are most concerned with the taste and quality of their brew so naturally, they prefer a packaging option that will preserve the flavor and enhance the experience of beer drinking.

Various experiments and studies have been done by prominent brewers on the difference between beer in a can and beer in a glass bottle, but it seems that the results are unsatisfying. Some studies show that beer is better in a can, while others favor glass bottles.

The final decision mainly depends on the ingredients used in the brew, the shape of the packaging, the marketing and branding of the brewer and personal preference.


Effects on Quality

The most important thing in a beer, or anything really, is the quality.

If a form of packaging compromises the quality and taste of the product then it should immediately be eliminated. For example, many scientists will tell you that plastic containers do affect the quality and flavor of food.

When it comes to beer the most important thing is to make sure ultraviolet light does not penetrate the can or bottle to affect the beer.

Light is destructive to the organic compounds that make the beer flavor that so many people enjoy therefore it is extremely important for the packaging to efficiently block light. Another enemy to good quality beer is air that slips in and compromises the taste of the brew.


Pros & Cons: Glass Bottles vs Cans

Everything in this world has a good and a bad side – nothing is perfect. Cans and glass bottles also each have their pros and cons and their good and bad qualities.

Let’s take a look at what each packaging option has to offer.


Pros of Cans

  • Cans don’t shatter so they are safer when it comes to transporting, stacking and overall handling
  • You don’t need a bottle opener to open a can
  • Cans weigh less and less packaging means that you can move the same amount of product in fewer trips, which reduces expenses and the company’s overall carbon footprint
  • Cans fit easily into a cooler
  • Cans have very little environmental impact and are easily recyclable
  • Draft beer is stored in kegs, which is essentially a very large can
  • Cans don’t let any light in so they tend to be really good at blocking UV light from affecting the beer, which should mean a better-tasting beer
  • Cans are really good at preventing air from leaking in and compromising the brew
  • Canned beer chills better than bottled beer


Cons of Cans:

  • The smell of aluminum as you drink out of a can tends to be unpleasant, but this is easily solved by pouring the beer into a glass
  • Cans are reported to contain the hazardous BPA chemical, which has been linked to various health issues including heart disease and behavioral issues

Glass Bottles


Pros of Bottles:

  • Amber bottles are very good at protecting the brew from flavor-busting UV light
  • Bottles are very good at keeping the brew tightly contained so the flavor is fresh and the quality of the beer is not compromised
  • Carbonation in a bottle is controlled, which helps keep the flavor in check
  • Bottles tend to be cleaner than cans and brewers can control the sanitizing process
  • Glass bottles are among the easiest materials to recycle and 80% of glass finds it way back on the market
  • Bottles don’t transfer any chemicals or flavors to the product


Cons of Bottles:

  • Bottling costs more than canning
  • Bottles shatter easily
  • Certain colors of glass bottles can’t block UV light and can compromise the brew



The Final Verdict

At the end of the day, there are multiple factors that will play into picking a material for packaging. Whether cans or glass bottles are better is a decision that is made by a brand and it can be something as easy as a marketing and branding decision and as complicated as taste and experience.

While cans may be easier to produce and maintain, bottles are not going anywhere anytime soon. Regardless of what you pick as a brewer or as a beer enthusiast it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

If you are interested in learning more about the debates over cans vs. glass bottles don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Packaging Options Direct.

If you are having a hard time deciding on a packaging option for your brew we would be more than happy to answer any questions and assist you through the process.

Give us a call today so we can discuss your packaging options and pick the best for your product!

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