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The Memphis German Club Message Board › A German Immigrant's Invention Hit the Market 75 years ago

A German Immigrant's Invention Hit the Market 75 years ago

user 6251691
Group Organizer
Memphis, TN
Post #: 17
Beer Can's 75th Birthday – A German Immigrant's Invention Hit the Market
Jan 29, 2010

It's a sight that makes mouths water - standing tall and cool, like a blonde bombshell that became a star overnight.

Seventy-five years ago this month the beer can debuted in the US. It was the idea of German immigrant brewer, Gottfried Krueger, who arrived in America at the age of 16. Unsure that the idea of beer in a can would catch on with consumers, Krueger hedged his bet. He was in Richmond, Virginia - far away from his own brewery - when he opened his first can of fizzy brew.

He reckoned that if beer drinkers didn't accept the idea, it wouldn't damage the image of his brewery, rather it would slowly run its course before becoming associated with his product, said Kevin Logan of the beer can museum in East Taunton, Massachusetts.

Krueger breweries, based in Newark, New Jersey were successful and the owners wanted to crown their product with practical packaging. So, in addition to beer, they began brewing up the idea of putting their beer in cans, which could be distributed more broadly.

The company American Can was already working on the idea of beer in cans. But Logan said canning green beans and canning beer are two different things. Because beer reacts with metal, an inner coating that had no effect on the taste of the beer had to be developed.

In 1933 Krueger first let 2,000 beer drinkers test his Krueger's Special Beer from a can. Then on January 24, 1935 the first beer in metal cans came onto the market. It was a great success. By the end of the year 200 million cans of beer were sold. The one-third litre cans were made of tin and weighed about 100 grams. Today a can of beer weighs less than one-quarter that amount and is mostly out of aluminium. For some time after they first appeared beer cans had the same shape as a bottle and had a cork seal.

In 1936 they made the leap across the Atlantic and by 1937 there were 23 breweries in Britain that sold beer in cans. Beer in cans reached Germany in 1951 with the slogan "Modern life - with beer out of a can." Today 30 percent of all beer sold worldwide reaches consumers in a can.
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