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The History of Beer Cans

The first beer can was made by American Can in 1933 for Gottfried Krueger’s Brewing Company. It hit shelves in 1935 as a lighter, less breakable alternative to glass beer bottles. Early flat top models had to be opened using a churchkey and weighted about four ounces each! At the time, not all companies had the machinery to produce flat top beer cans, so the cone top can came into existence in the mid-1930s as a compromise. The cone top can allowed smaller breweries to keep using their existing factory equipment since it was sealed with a bottle cap, just like a glass beer bottle would be. There was a lull in beer can production due to World War II, but following the lull, the popularity of canned beer exploded in the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1960s, Iron City Beer added a pull tab to the design and Schlitz further improved upon the notion with the first finger loop. In 1969, sales of canned beer surpassed those of bottled beer for the first time. In 1975, the fixed tab beer can that we are familiar with today finally showed up. It was produced by Falls City Brewing Company and the design is still in use by nearly every brewery (and soda company) today!

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