Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cans on the Radio

My homestate public radio station back in Oregon just did a report on craft beer in cans. Not only is it fun to read the text of the story and pretend you're a radio reporter (just me?), it's a good look at the changing attitudes on the topic.

On my most recent trip to Portland for my brother's wedding, the stigma was alive and well with one of the groomsmen, who said he felt that craft in cans was simply not right.

In the article, a pub owner points this out: 

"As of this week, there are 131 craft brewers nationwide that are either canning, or in the late stages of canning. Yeah, it’s a trend, I would say the biggest trend in craft-brewing right now"

It further lists reasons for accepting cans:

-Keeps the beer fresher
-Lighter, easier to transport
-Easier to recycle

Any downside? Besides the stigma, the article notes that it is more expensive to run a canning line, which may make it difficult to the smaller of the small brewers.

Here in Japan, we have seen a few brewers produce cans. Yona Yona was on the shelves in cans when I got here in 2007, and they are definitely among the leaders. I have recently seen Coedo and Echigo beers in cans even out here in Inaka Mie. It would be great to see more Japanese brewers follow suit, especially the other mainstays leading the field already in quality and availability.

In Japan, the stigma issue is probably larger than back in the states. Already, craft beer is seen as foreign, exotic, and essentially "not beer-like." That's because the image of "beer" is a light lager, golden in color, with 30 percent head for good measure. Many craft producers here treat their product like it's some sort of holy nectar, adorning their cans with colorful foil toppings (I'm looking at you, Kinshachi).

Of course, I balance my bite here with general respect toward the still-maturing industry. I'll accept anything that's good, in a glass or a bottle or a can.

1 comment:

  1. I served beer in cans (in fact, Caldera) at my wedding last year -- by far, the most popular beer of the party...