I’ll drink to that-Lets open a can.The history of canned beer.


This is a subject that is close to my heart, it makes me emotional. In fact after having had a few of these it makes me very emotional.

It is beer! And not just any beer but canned beer.

Having a can of beer is not just having a drink, it is an adventure. You put them in the fridge to get them to the right temperature. You then open the can, not knowing in what velocity the beer will vacate the can. Then the most important thing the pour.

Determine the right angle to approach the glass and the correct speed of pouring the beer to get the correct level of foam to top of the class, It’s not just a drink but a piece of art.

But how did it all start?


Canned beer makes its debut on January 24 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.


The American Can Co. began experimenting with canned beer in 1909. But the cans couldn’t withstand the pressure from carbonation – up to 80 pounds per square inch – and exploded. Just before the end of the Prohibition in 1933, the company developed a “keg-lining” technique, coating the inside of the can the same as a keg.


Krueger had been brewing beer since the mid-1800s, but had suffered from the Prohibition and worker strikes. When American Can approached with the idea of canned beer, it was initially unpopular with Krueger execs. But American Can offered to install the equipment for free: If the beer flopped, Krueger wouldn’t have to pay.

So, in 1935 Krueger’s Cream Ale and Krueger’s Finest Beer were the first beers sold to the public in cans. Canned beer was an immediate success. The public loved it, giving it a 91 percent approval rating.

The response was overwhelming. Within three months, over 80 percent of distributors were handling Krueger’s canned beer, and Krueger’s was eating into the market share of the “big three” national brewers–Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and Schlitz. Competitors soon followed suit, and by the end of 1935, over 200 million cans had been produced and sold.

The purchase of cans, unlike bottles, did not require the consumer to pay a deposit. Cans were also easier to stack, more durable and took less time to chill. As a result, their popularity continued to grow throughout the 1930s, and then exploded during World War II, when U.S. brewers shipped millions of cans of beer to soldiers overseas.

After the war, national brewing companies began to take advantage of the mass distribution that cans made possible, and were able to consolidate their power over the once-dominant local breweries, which could not control costs and operations as efficiently as their national counterparts.



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Lets just have a drink-The end of the Prohibition


Since January 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment had made it illegal (medicinal and religious exemptions aside) to drink or sell any beverages containing at least 0.5 percent alcohol by volume anywhere in the United States.

The law led to lawlessness. A new wave of criminals met the new need for illicit alcohol and plagued the country for more than a decade.

But in 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt finally brought the end of Prohibition — but not necessarily for reasons you might think. At that time, America had been raked over the coals by the Great Depression. People were starving and struggling and, when the people had nothing, the government had nothing to tax. Roosevelt’s administration brought alcohol back, hoping to bring money back into the government via taxation and thus kick-start the economy.

Nevertheless, the end of Prohibition didn’t come all at once, but instead in stages. First, on March 22, 1933, it became legal to sell drinks that had four percent alcohol by volume or less. The people could drink again – even if it was only light beers and wines. Then, On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed entirely and people could truly drink again.

People came out in droves, forming massive crowds outside bars across the country. Inside, people danced, sang, and raised their glasses in a toast to the death of the 18th Amendment.

A crowd of people comes out to Times Square to celebrate the repeal of the 18th Amendment.

New York. December 1933.


Workers at a brewery unload thousands of crates of beer, getting ready for the end of Prohibition.

New York. April, 1933.


Crowds of people swarm outside of the Belmont Grill, waiting for its doors to open so that they can taste their first legal drop of liquor in 13 years.

Los Angeles. December 1933.


Men and women celebrate the repeal of Prohibition by rolling a barrel of alcohol down the street and toasting the 18th Amendment’s demise.

Chicago. December 5, 1933.


Arthur Ernstahl, the first person to bring liquor into the U.S legally after the repeal of the 18th Amendment, declares two bottles of cognac to customs inspector Leo Shettel after arriving in New York on December 5, 1933, the day of the repeal.


Actress Jean Harlow christens the first legal bottle of beer at midnight in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles. April 1933.


A worker carries a keg of beer into the Malamute Saloon, getting ready for the crowds that will come flooding in. The sign outside his store advertises that they are the “First to Open in 13 Years.”

Los Angeles. 1933.