If we could, we would build a time machine out of a beer tank and make it run on pure lager. Sure, it would mean we couldn’t travel to any date B.L. (that’s Before Lager if you’re having trouble keeping up) without reserves, but who would want to go back to a time without the best damn beer in the world anyway? We’d do a couple test runs, just to make sure there weren’t any kinks. Send an intern back a couple minutes or something. And then we’d do some traveling of our own: to January 24, 1935.
If that date doesn’t ring any bells, then it’s time for a little lesson in beer history. There may or may not be a test on this. Anyway, January 24, 1935, marked the release of the world’s first beer cans for Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale. Engineered by the American Can Company, these steel cans had flat tops and weighed nearly four ounces. The only way to get to the sweet nectar within was to puncture a hole in the lid with a church key. Seems a little high-maintenance if you ask us.
Like the G’s they were, the G. Heilemann Brewing Company released a line of cone-top cans in September 1935. Mainly used by smaller breweries, these cone-tops came in four types: low profile, high profile, J-sprouts, and the Crowntainer. We’d explain the differences, but you’d probably fall asleep faster than your old man does after Thanksgiving dinner. Let’s just say, as small breweries went out of business, this can type fell by the wayside.
The Pittsburgh Brewing Company transformed the beer packaging industry with their self-opening Iron City Beer cans in March 1963. All it took to open one of these cans was to put a finger in a little ring and yank the thing. The whole tab came off, giving easy access to the drink. Simple enough. Excellent idea. The only problem was that they proved to be a health risk. Ten years later, the stay tab came into play, introduced by the Falls City Brewing Company. Today, with the exception of the occasional use of full aperture end cans, which allow for the removal of the entire lid, nearly every brewing companies uses the stay-tab cans for their beer.
If you’re still awake, congratulations, you’ve reached the end! If you fell asleep and/or skipped to the end, then hop in our time machine and go back to when you first started reading this. It’s cool. We promise. We’re passionate about beer, and it’s okay to geek out on your passions every once in a while. So, join Kräftig as we geek out a little bit on Beer Can Appreciation Day!
Some information from: Brewery Collectibles Club of America