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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Local brewers get canned

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Walking into any beer store these days will make one thing abundantly clear - cans are back! While bottles have ruled the realm of craft beer for most of its recent resurgence, more and more breweries are turning to the aluminum can to store their wares.

So why cans? Good question and I'm glad you asked it.

Cans have a few things going for them. First and foremost, cans are opaque; absolutely no light can get into the container and affect the beer inside. Light - specifically UV rays - are the enemy of freshness. Cans help prolong shelf life and keep the beer tasting as it did the day it left the brewery.

Another reason cans are preferred is that they are much less heavy to ship. A 12-ounce bottle weighs almost twice as much as a 12-ounce can of the very same beer. By packaging in cans, the brewery can reduce shipping costs and then pass the savings on to you!

The last reason that cans are gaining in popularity is, well, just that. Packaging craft beer in cans has a certain 'it factor' that is undeniable. People want beer in cans and breweries are racing to scratch that itch.

Maine breweries aren't new to the canning game; in fact, one of the first craft beers I ever had in a can was Sunsplash from the now-defunct Stone Coast Brewing Company way back in 2004. Beyond Stone Coast, Baxter Brewing in Lewiston was the first Maine brewery to really embrace the can as their package of choice, actually building their business model around beer in cans. From there, cans have slowly gained in popularity with breweries like Marshall Wharf, Sebago, Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Liquid Riot and more either choosing cans from the outset or making the switch to cans in recent years.

Even more locally, Orono Brewing Company, Mason's Brewing Company and Marsh Island Brewing Company have all begun packaging their suds in aluminum and have seen great results in terms of both sales and beer stability. Orono has released a few short runs of their Ozone and Kablam! IPAs; Mason's has canned their Farmhouse Saison, West Coat Pilz, American IPA and their popular Roggen Bier; and Marsh Island has canned their Downrigger IPA, 20 Gauge IPA and the Wooly Bugger Pils.

And finally, if you are a nerd about things and like to know more about what goes into making an aluminum can and why they are a pretty fascinating feat of modern engineering, check out the canning video from the Engineer Guy on YouTube (

So the next time you crack open a can of beer, take a look at it, appreciate its designthen enjoy!


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