Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Little Can

I cannot let today go by without mentioning what national day it is.

It is National Beer Can Appreciation Day!

Before 1935 you couldn't get your beer in cans. Then manufacturing processes made it possible to use sturdy enough materials to form cans. The first ones were made of heavy gauge steel, which could withstand the pressure of carbonation and pasteurization.

The taste of the beer also had to be considered. The American Can Company developed a way of "keg-lining", which was lining the inside of a small can the way that the inside of a regular keg is lined. This was with something called Vinylite that the company Union Carbide had developed. (My father worked for Union Carbide many, many moons ago.) That way the metal would not alter the taste of the beer.

Having beer in cans was great, but how do you open one of those flat topped cylindrical things made of a heavy gauge steel? In 1933 American Can Company's Dewitt Sampson and John Hothersall received a patent for an opener they called a church key which would puncture the top of the can, leaving a triangular shape. Even after the availability of pop top cans you may have used one of these to open a can of tomato juice or good old Hawaiian Punch before the advent of the plastic bottle.

I found a very interesting website that has the illustrated history of the American Beer Can. You can click here to visit it.

I don't drink now, due to the medications I have to take to remain functioning, but beer is still near and dear to my heart. My wonderful friend Mark owns his own brewery. It is Chattanooga Brewing Company. If you clicked on the link, he is the one in the middle of the cover photo. He toiled for years in corporate America and when he saw the opportunity to follow his dream and take his home brewed recipes to the masses he took it. Last year they moved from the small space where the business started to a brand spanking new building and added a restaurant. I am so proud of him.

And they are at a point where they are now going to go into canning the beer. It is still a little ways off, but they will as soon as they are able.

This was not a solo endeavor for him. He has partners and brewers and staff. They are all fantastic people.

So you see why I was compelled to expound on the joy that is the vessel that makes many tailgates and parties so much fun to attend. Or, you can enjoy your beer in your own living room.

And, if you are in Chattanooga, TN, try some of Mark's on tap (soon to be in cans).


  1. I just can't like beer. I want to and I try it now and again but so far it hasn't happened. the closest was a lager milkshake Jonathon at red robin made for me because I was curious. but even that was just a few sips. I can appreciate the can though, my dad drank both Olympia beer and ranier beer, old local breweries. and someone somewhere has a billy beer can and a 'who shot j.r.' can. and I love church keys I use them on tomato juice to this day.

    1. That is okay, michele, not everyone likes beer. And that is so cool about your dad! I love church keys too and have one but I haven't had anything to use it on in a long time. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! I appreciate you!