Beer Can History

Although the first beer can was marketed in 1935, it was almost 2 years earlier that the first beer can was fiilled. In December of 1933 at least 2000 Krueger's Special Beer cans were filled and sent to select households in a limited area. The experiment was a success and the Krueger's Finest Beer and Cream Ale cans were fully marketed on January 24th, 1935.

The success of the Krueger Brewing Co. and other breweries led many breweries to follow and in September of 1935 the first cone top beer can was sold by the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company. By January 1936 a total of 37 breweries were filling beer cans. The race was on for can manufactures to begin competing for the new business of beer in cans.

The beer cans of the 1930's were very graphic and featured large text. Breweries wanted to make sure that people knew what was in the cans. Most cans featured opening instructions to help beer drinkers figure out the new fangled containers.

Through the early 1940's beer cans enjoyed an increase in market share and the beer bottle now had to compete with the metal container. However, the start of World War II would prove to be quite a test for the beer can. Metal shortages forced beer cans to be produced in very limited quantites. Even when World War II ended many breweries did not immediately return to producing beer cans.

The beer cans of the 1950's tended to have more generic label designs with smaller text. The national breweries were taking over and the smaller breweries spent less time and money designing their beer cans. The cans also began to feature thinner metal and changes in the seam and lid designs.

Not much was changing in the 1960's until the pull tab beer can was invented. Although it had been thought of many years earlier it wasn't until 1962 the technology existed and the first pull tab beer can was marketed. Over the next 10 years most breweries changed from the flat top beer can to the pull tab beer can.

The last major beer can innovation came during the ealry 1980's when the stay on tab was invented. The days of pull tabs littering the streets were over. Today all beer cans are required to have stay on tabs.