For decades, beers in cans were often disregarded for being cheap, mass-produced, and often tasting of nothing but tin.
The bottom line is that if you’re brewing bad beer and putting it in cans, it will always be bad beer, regardless of how you package it.
Fans of the can have known of its advantages for some time now.
“The biggest advantage of cans over bottles is light and air,” explained Hope Estate brewer Matt Hogan.
“Exposure to UV light can damage some of the flavour compounds, which makes the beer taste off. Air encourages oxidation, resulting in other unwanted flavours.
“No light can get into a can which means they’re better for avoiding light strike and that skunked flavour. Can technology and liners have gotten much better, plus, they weigh less than bottles and are easier and cheaper to transport. They’re faster to cool and they’re 100 per cent recyclable.”
According to the results of the 2018 Australian Craft Beer Survey conducted by online beer retailer Beer Cartel, 30 per cent of beer drinkers prefer to drink beer from a can, compared to 33 per cent who prefer bottles. The revolution has begun rolling through the breweries in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
“It’s a bit of a no-brainer, the Tin Shed Tinnie,” said Dungog brewer David Cox.
“Our customers are proud to see their local beer being drunk in cans at weekend barbecues and local events.”
Tin Shed uses mobile canning business East Coast Canning (ECC), who stow a mobile canning line in the back of a van that is driven right up and down the east coast of Australia.
“The cost of buying a canning machine is far too high to be viable with my sized brewery, we don’t even have the space to store it,” Cox said.
“Canning our beer has increased our brewing turnover by around 40 per cent. We’ve had to order more fermenters and hire a trainee brewer to help keep up with demand.”
The rise in popularity of the tinnie has been a boon for brewers like Cox and others. It means their beers can be sold and enjoyed far beyond the confines of their small, independent breweries.
Rogue Scholar’s Adam Hardy has also started canning his beers: “The first run of cans sold out, just from online orders, events and weddings. The plan is to get the next run into a few independent bottle shops around town.”
Hardy cans his Rogue Scholar beers with help from a tiny Carrington-based company called Craft Beer Canning Co, run by Analee and Geoff Isbister of Styx Brewery. Their canning line is much smaller and more hands-on than the typical canning operation, but it can still process up to eight cans per minute. They even cater for home brewers.
The three local tins to keep in your fridge this summer, according to Daniel Honan, are:
Grainfed: Sneaky One Summer Ale
A cracking summer smasher; hoppy tropical fruits, yellow citrus, bitter finish with a moreish mouthfeel. $6, 4.2 per cent.
Tin Shed Brewery: Tin Shed Lager
Easy drinking has never been so easy; biscuity, white bread malts, mild tropical and cut grass hops, laid back and relaxed. $6, 3.5 per cent.
Rogue Scholar: Ginger Beer
Beer, kind of; a summer thirst crusher if ever there was one; ever so sweet, ginger and spice, finishing crisp and dry. $6, 4.8 per cent.