You may have noticed that the contents of the fridges here at Tir na nÓg are looking a little different. That's because some of our craft beers have switched from being served in a bottle to a can. Whether glass bottles or aluminium cans are better for beer is a long-standing battle. We think there is only one way for this to be solved! An all out, one-on-one pub car park brawl. Bottles in the blue corner, cans in the red corner. Our fighters size each other up, shake hands and step back.
Let's Get Ready To RUMBBBBBBLLLLLEEEEE!
Round 1: Appearance
Despite craft breweries working hard to debunk the theory, there is a stereotype around cans that they generally contain cheaper, tasteless beer. The way the beer looks/is percieved is a big factor in whether it sells well. Customers can either choose a seek and slender bottle with an eye-catching label or a chunky & funky can, which generally have flashy, colourful designs (especially for craft beers). We may be in the middle of a paradigm shift but there is something of a traditional romanticism that edges customers more towards bottles.
Round 2: Packaging (Environmental Impact)
Cans weigh significantly less when transporting large quantities to customers around the world. This means that fuel consumption is much lower and therefore the impact on the enviroment is better with cans over bottles. Easy win for cans.
Round 3: Protection of Beer
Beer's biggest enemies are light, oxygen, and heat. Darker glass bottles block around 99% of the wavelengths of light that will damage your tasty treat. However, cans deliver the KO punch when it comes to exposure to air. The aim of the game is to keep the beer in an airtight seal with no room for oxygen or exposure to light. Cans have bottles on the ropes here!
Round 4: All Brewing Techniques
Cans are perfect for tangy, sour IPAs that you can introduce your friends to and show them how cool you are. However, this cannot be said for beers that are brewed more traditionally. Bottle-fermented Belgian beers require the addition of yeast and sugar straight into the bottle, where the beer undergoes a second fermentation. Without going into the deep science stuff, cans are not able to handle all the chemical reaction business inside of them and have been known to explode. It would be a tough sell to offer a beer to a customer and say "Open it, I dare you"
Round 5 (Final Round): Taste
Both fighters look weary stepping into the last round. This is could quite easily be the most important round when it comes to why a customer would prefer either bottle or can. There have been cases put forward about cans leaving a metalic taste in the mouth or glass affecting the flavour over time. Yet, the truth is that most of us, if given a blind tasting, would not be able to tell the difference between which our beer was stored in. There are many, many videos on YouTube showing people failing at exactly this. The good news is that we have both on offer, so you can come in and decide for yourself. We are just happy to serve tasty beer!
(Please note - No beers were harmed in the writing of this section, some were drunk though.)