Brewers struggle to meet demand for tinnies

April 10, 2019
By Alana House

Experts are predicting canned beer will outsell bottled beer within three years.

A Nielsen survey that analysed 2018 consumer data has predicted that if sales continue at their current pace, craft beer cans will outsell bottles by 2021.

Danny Brager, senior vice president of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area noted that cans now have 57% of total beer dollar share in the US and account for two-thirds of the volume.

Meanwhile Nielsen research in the UK into the beer and cider market for UK trade body the Can Makers has shown that sales of cans in the beer and cider market grew by 6% in 2018.

Sales of single beer cans saw a 9% rise and single cider cans growing by 22%, against a background of the overall market for beer and cider growing by 5%.

The canned craft beer market grew by 59%, while glass bottles of craft beer declined by 5%.

The growing canned beer trend has been strongly reflected in Australia in recent years.

The humble tinnie has gone from being an ‘80s relic to the darling of the craft beer set, with the Hottest 100 craft beers list featuring no canned brews in 2013, but 77 cans in 2018.

At Feral Brewing Company’s WA headquarters, brewers can’t keep up with demand for its hugely popular Biggie Juice IPA cans.

Following the sell-out nationwide launch on April 1 of the first batch of Feral’s Biggie Juice 6% New England IPA – which picked up gold at the 2018 AIBAs and polled third with consumers in the GABS Hottest 100 – the Feral team had to schedule another 2800-case production run, especially since the brew.

Single Fin

Fellow WA brewer Gage Roads wants to raise $8 million to upgrade to a commercial-scale canning line at its Palmyra operations.

A nationwide trial over the summer of cans of its Single Fin brand was a hit with drinkers.

“We’re getting a lot of really positive feedback from independent retailers finding that consumers are really, really interested in craft can beer,” Gage Roads managing director John Hoedemaker told Perth Now.

Why cans are hooking consumers and brewers

The advantages of cans are numerous for both consumers and brewers.

Beer quality is better in cans because the liquid isn’t exposed to light that can penetrate bottles — even the brown ones — and the lid is a more durable seal than a cap.

Cans also weigh less, which reduces shipping costs, and they are easier to stack and store at breweries and retail stores.

For consumers, cans are more portable and allowed at places where glass is prohibited, plus they get colder faster and stay colder longer.

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