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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Craft beer is encroaching on more than cooler space; the fast-growing malt beverage segment is also entering territory once designated to Budweiser and MillerCoors -- the aluminum can.
Even though craft beer in a can debuted in the cooler in 2002 when Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery began canning its Dale's Pale Ale, it didn't gain momentum until recently, according to The Washington Post. Two years ago, 50 craft breweries (mostly small ones) sold their products in cans. Today that number is approaching 150, and it's not just the small breweries anymore.
The trend is continuing to grow. As the news report forecast, at least half of the 25 largest U.S. craft breweries will be selling canned beer by the end of 2012. For example, Samuel Adams maker Boston Beer is working with several manufacturers to develop cans for its products, Boston Beer President Jim Koch told the newspaper.
What's behind the move to cans? According to the Post, cans help beer stay fresh by blocking out the light and keeping out oxygen better than bottles. In addition, cans offer a significant cost savings to breweries.
There are drawbacks too. The plastic lining found inside the can usually contains Bisphenol A, a chemical linked to endocrine and reproductive problems, and the linings can break down over time putting the beer in contact with metal, the newspaper said.
While more craft beer is moving to the can, one Florida brewery is taking on Anheuser-Busch InBev over a bottle -- more specifically a blue bottle.
As CSNews Online reported last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev will launch Bud Light Platinum, a higher-alcohol version of its namesake, in January. It will also come in blue bottle.
However, the Florida Beer Company (FBC) recently released its seasonal Oktoberest called "Conchtoberfest" which also comes in a blue bottle.
"It has come to our attention that another company has announced the release of a mass-produced brew that will also be placed in blue bottle that will inevitably make the "wow" factor blue fade back into a brown bottle world. AB-InBev has announced the release of their new concoction or "beer" Bud Light Platinum. A 6.8-percent high gravity light beer. (Isn't that malt liquor?)Their intention is to compete with the ever so growing American craft beer revolution and standout amongst all the micro brands with their new illustrious blue bottle," FBC wrote in a blog post on its website.
"Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, while we say "can't some things just be sacred?" Just like hip hop, Hunter S. Thompson, Ghostbusters and now our seasonal blue bottles, it just goes to show that, exploitation can happen in every facet of life. So fellow craft drinkers, reach into your fridges, pull out your remaining FBC Marzens and raise your glasses high, because we want you to know that "This Conchs for you!," the post stated.