The can. It has many meanings such as, garbage, toilets, being able to do, not being able to do, and a round container usually metal. The one we really care about here at The Brewery is that last one. The beer can has come a long way since 1935, after cans proved their worth by successfully storing food without issue.
The first beer cans were sealed on the top and bottom and required an opener tool known as a “church key”. Without the church key your beer was locked inside the can forever or until you were innovative enough to smash the thing open. It is rumored that giving the beer opening tool the name church key was a way to “stick it” to the religious organization that mainly backed Prohibition. Go ahead and Google old beer cans, from PBR to Michelob to Coors Original, all of them had to be punched open with your church key, until Ermal Fraze devised the pull tab.
Fraze invented the pull tab in 1959 and it went on to dominate the beer can market. The only problem was all that people, being people, would use the pull tab and then throw it on the ground like the animals they are. This brought up serious pollution and liter concerns that the good people over at Coors decided to fix.
While Fraze was inventing the pull tab in 1959 Coors was also ahead of the can curve by becoming the first American brewer to use an all-aluminum two-piece can. In the 1970s Coors solved the pull tab litter problem by inventing the push-tab, which never caught on with customers. Thought I was going someplace else with that, didn’t you? Anyway, eventually all of the problems were solved when someone decided to make the pop-top which was first used by Falls City brewing and is what we have today. See, all of that just to open your beer can!
Don’t ever doubt canned beer awesomeness.
Speaking of Coors, they currently operate the largest aluminum can producing plant. Coors was also the first canned beer that I can remember that promoted the idea of “lining the can” using their patented “frost brewed liner”. Does it keep the beer colder? Sure, why not. Does it make the beer taste better? Possibly. Who’s to say really? Also the mountains on your can that turn blue when your beer is cold (roughly 45°F) is always fun.
From church keys, to pull tabs, to pop tops, to color changing mountains, beer cans have come a long way since their inception. So the next time you break open that cold refreshing Coors Light or any of the numerous canned beers that are out there, think about all of the years of history and innovations that went into that Can!