Can Craze

by Sakamoto Flash

Few of today’s craft beer drinkers in Japan are old enough to remember the can craze of the 1980s, when big beer producers began creating an array of different designs for cans. It was a boon for beer can collectors, but the public quickly tired of this fad gone out of control, and it all fizzled out like flat beer.

Today, the big producers still package primarily in cans and release design changes on occasion, especially with the seasons. Craft beer, meanwhile, is rapidly gaining acceptance in Japan but most breweries package in bottles because of consumer perceptions that glass is better.

It seems the industry is on the cusp of a monumental shift and some of the companies tipping the scales toward canned craft are also anchors of the industry: Yona Yona, Echigo, Ginga Kogen and Coedo. There are obvious financial benefits for them. For starters, cans weigh less and cost less to ship. Also, supermarkets have limited shelf space and cans do not create a problem. Not surprisingly, these brands are the only ones widely available in supermarkets. And for craft beer to push deeper into the mainstream, it must penetrate supermarkets.

Cans are also better for the consumer. Unlike glass, they prevent light from entering, which can damage beer. Cans prevent oxidation– who wants flat beer? Finally, the notion that the taste of the can alters the flavor is wrong; modern canning technology now places a tasteless lining between the aluminum and your beer.

Environmental bonuses abound, too. As stated, cans are lighter and therefore have a smaller CO2 footprint in shipping. Cans don’t break like glass, becoming a hazard, and they can be safely crushed for compact disposal. Finally, they are much easier and cheaper to recycle.

What greater incentives does the consumer need? Canned beer seems like the answer. Canned craft beer, the best answer.






消費者が必要とするものは何か? その答えは缶入りのビールではないだろうか。そして、クラフトビアを缶でつくること。これがベストの回答だ。

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