Photo Of The Day: The Date Beer Changed Forever

First Canned Beer

There’s a high chance that the last beer you drank came out of a can. Over 50% of non-draught beer in America is sold in cans (and that number has risen in recent years). But prior to January 24, 1935, a can wouldn’t have even been an option.

The American Can Company started toying with the idea of canned beer back in 1909. Their major problem was that the cans just couldn’t hold up to the 30-80 pounds-per-square inch of carbonated pressure found in bottled beer. And then Prohibition hit in 1919, eliminating any potential market even if the company could figure out their problem.

It wasn’t until 1933, with the end of Prohibition on the horizon, that American Can Co. came out with a pressurized, coated can that could safely and tastefully contain beer.

American Can Co. then set their marks on the Gottfried Krueger Brewery, which had a history dating back to the mid-1800s. Leadership at the brewery was against the notion of canned beer, but Krueger’s sales were down, as they were plagued by worker strikes and Prohibition. American Can Co. offered to install their equipment free of charge, mitigating the risk of financial failure, so the brewery agreed to a trial run.

Krueger sold 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to drinkers in Richmond, Virginia, with near instantaneous success. Ninety-one percent of the first canned beer drinkers approved, and the fruitful relationship between beer and can had begun. Canned beer popularity exploded from there, with more than 200 million cans being produced and sold by the end of the debut year.

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