'Really in the consumer's favour:' Ontario craft brewers switch to cans

Ontario craft brewers are making a “huge shift” from using bottles to cans, a move that the Ontario Craft Brewers Association said is “in the consumers favour.”

Beer cans, rather than bottles, are more environmentally friendly and produce a better tasting product

More craft breweries are shifting to using cans because of consumer demand, saying they're more environmentally friendly and produce a better quality product. (Facebook/Stalwart Brewing Company)

Ontario craft brewers are making a "huge shift" from using bottles to cans, a move that the Ontario Craft Brewers Association says is "in the consumers favour."

Jeff Dornan, co-founder of All of Nothing Brew House in Oakville and board chair of the Ontario Craft Brewers spoke to Craig Norris, host of CBC K-W's The Morning Edition about the new trend. 

"It's a huge switch, and I can speak on our brewery in Oakville that we moved 100 per cent from bottles to cans," he said.

"There are a lot of pros to the switch and really, it's in the consumer's favour."

Dornan said the biggest benefit to cans versus bottles is the taste and overall quality of the product. Beer tends to spoil when it's been exposed to UV light and glass bottles can't block them like cans are able to.

"Craft brewers put a lot of heart, sweat and tears into our product to make the absolute best tasting product … and in a can there is no UV light exposure so [the beer] doesn't lose its flavour," he said.

Dornan said 'there are a lot of pros to the switch and really, it's in the consumer's favour.' (CBC)

'An urban myth'

Dornan was quick to shoot down the idea that beer in a can may taste like tin or aluminum.

"[That idea is] an urban myth now. It doesn't exist," he said.

And the move to cans isn't only beneficial for consumers.

Dornan said the material needed to make 10,000 bottles is equivalent to making 250,000 cans, making it mutually beneficial for the environment and the manufacturer.

Producing cans reduces the brewer's carbon footprint and is easier and safer for employees in comparison to glass bottles.

Glass bottles, a lot of them from craft brewers are unique, also often don't make it back to the brewery even though they are easily recyclable, according to Dornan.

"For us a beer can is [easier to recycle] because we know everyone is recycling at the end of their driveway or taking it back to the beer store," he said.

'Reflective of consumer demand'

A local brewery has noted the trend and followed suit.

Brick Brewing said on Wednesday it plans to invest $3.5 million in its Kitchener brewery to upgrade its canning line and expand its brewing capacity.

The move will double the breweries capacity to 400,000 hectolitres which is the equivalent to 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

"I think it's reflective of consumer demand and I think brewers are recognizing that consumers have a preference for cans," said George Croft, the company's president and CEO.

Brick Brewing's canned business in 2012 produced about 100,000 hectolitres — 1.2 million cases, said Croft. In 2017, it has gone up to about 2.4 million cases and will increase again by May 2018. 

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