During the recent Beer Now Conference and SIBA BeerX trade days, I was invited to a breakfast organised by The Can Makers. It was attended by a few brewers, suppliers and beer writers, with the aim to discuss growth in canned beer, consumer perceptions and the future.
To be honest, I have not reflected on cans in an incredibly analytical fashion other than realising that they look a lot better now than they used to, so it was interesting to hear about benefits such as cans being infinitely recyclable and keeping the beer’s freshness. See an article on the subject here.
According to Ferment Magazine’s blog, breweries are also able to express themselves more creatively on cans as they get full 360° coverage. Leader of the pack is Beavertown Brewery, with Nick Dwyer’s powerful artwork. Original Gravity magazine has featured Dwyer in relation to art of beer; “Good beer and good design tie in, but the beer is what really matters. It’s updating the way of thinking about beer as a quality product, and that quality has to be obvious across the board – concept, ingredients, process and packaging. Working with a can over a bottle is great – it’s pretty much all canvas.”
Above: Beavertown Brewery
Attending The Can Makers’ breakfast session was also head brewer Kieran Johnson of Uprising Brewery, winner of the Indie Beer Can Festival 2016. The competition searches for the best independent beer in cans and in an earlier interview, Johnson said that “the best cans look like a piece of art, and this really give your beer its own identity.”
Also presenting at the Beer Now Conference on the importance of identity and branding for brewers, agency WPA Pinfold showed a few more examples of great design and storytelling in the beer industry. For instance, Harvey’s Brewery has introduced illustrations by local artist Susan Lynch on their cans to target a new, younger generation of consumers.
Above: Harvey’s Brewery
No longer perceived as cheap and commercial beers in boring packaging, there is certainly room for interesting brand building in canned beer. Nowadays, a tasty beer in a great looking can is almost a collectable – just like art.