Many craft beer drinkers hold their nose when it comes to canned beer.
Rick Vernon doesn’t understand that attitude.
As the owner of the West Point Market in Akron, he has watched as more brewers put their well-respected craft beers in cans.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale — considered the definitive American pale ale — now comes in a can. So does Brooklyn Lager, New Belgium Fat Tire, Breckenridge Avalanche Ale and a host of others.
Even Ohio brewers Fat Head’s and Jackie O’s have announced plans to can when they open new production breweries this year.
“They’ve really kicked it up a notch as far as what they are putting in cans,” Vernon said.
To knock out any lingering stigma, West Point Market will host a tasting featuring canned beer from 7 to 9 p.m. June 8.
There will be more than 35 brands from breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Sixpoint, 21st Amendment, Brooklyn, Breckenridge, Leinenkugel, Magic Hat, Anderson Valley, Avery, Sapporo, Boddingtons and Goose Island. Vernon even tossed in a classic, Pabst Blue Ribbon, for good measure.
He expects about 230 people for the event, which costs $25 and includes food.
The Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo., trade group representing craft brewers, estimates 179 craft breweries are offering beer in cans today.
And the number is growing rapidly as myths about cans — no, there isn’t a metallic taste — disappear and more craft beer drinkers embrace them.
There are even whole beer festivals devoted to cans, including the Ameri-CAN Canned Craft Beer Festival in Arizona.
And this year, the Canny Awards, which honor brewers for the best can designs, were handed out at the Craft Brewers Conference. Sixpoint Brewery won for Diesel.
Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. of Newark, N.J., is credited with bringing the first canned beer, Krueger’s Special Beer, to the market in January 1935.
Oskar Blues of Lyons, Colo., is recognized for spawning the craft can trend when it released Dale’s Pale Ale more than 10 years ago. (And, yes, Vernon will have some Dale’s Pale Ale to sample.)
Industry experts say it’s less expensive to package cans. And it saves on shipping costs, because a can weighs less than a bottle.
Then there’s the belief that the can, not the bottle, is a superior container because the beer is not susceptible to being damaged by light.
“I am confident to say you will see more and more craft brewers either expand their packaging to canning or dedicate their packaging to canning,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director with the Brewers Association. “As the equipment to can has become more accessible, so have small breweries’ interest to package into the can.”