Happy Birthday, Beer Can! Cheers to 80 Years

On Jan. 24, 1935, Krueger Brewing of Richmond, Virginia sold the very first beer can. While the beer cans of 80 years ago don't look too different from the cans of today, consumers had to actually crack open a cold one by using a can opener.

If you enjoy a cold brewsky, than here's something to cheers to: the beer can turned 80 years old this week!

On Jan. 24, 1935, Krueger Brewing of Richmond, Virginia sold the first beer can.

According to TIME, after the Prohibition ended in 1933, brewers were searching for ways to innovate when they landed on packaging. 

In 1909, the American Can Co. began working on a way to get beer into a can successfully, but the company couldn't figure out how to temper the carbonation and keep the cans from exploding. It took them nearly 20 years, but they finally figured out that the lining of the cans could be used with the same lacquer-like material used to line kegs.

Krueger Brewing, being the first brewer to jump on-board with the new packaging idea, was granted the installation of the necessary equipment for free by the American Co. 

TIME wrote that canned beer "quickly sold out" at store shelves. One brewery, the now defunct Pfeiffer, did so well with its canned beer that later that year it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

While the beer can of 80 years ago doesn't look so different from the cans of today, consumers had to crack open a cold one by using a can opener.

In a recent Beer Advocate article, Jim McGreevy, the Beer Institute President and CEO, said that America's preference for beer is a huge advantage for workers and the U.S. economy.

"Each job in a brewery creates another 45 jobs in other industries, like can manufacturing," McGreevy said. "This long supply chain is important to communities across the country. Beer cans are a major part of the package mix of beer offered to consumers today."

Let's take a trip back in time to see how beer cans have evolved over the last 80 years. (Video by Bloomberg Business)

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