Last Friday, America celebrated the 80th anniversary of enjoying beer in a can — one of the country’s greatest advances. The Beer Institute, the trade association representing America’s brewers, beer importers and suppliers, and the Can Manufacturers Institute, the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry, marked the occasion. The first beer can was sold in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 24, 1935.
“America’s preference for beer is a major advantage for American workers and the U.S. economy,” said Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute President and CEO. “Each job in a brewery creates another 45 jobs in other industries, like can manufacturing. 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.”
“This anniversary showcases the longevity and strength that the aluminum can brings to the beer industry by providing an excellent drinking experience for the consumer,” said CMI President Robert Budway. “The enduring characteristics of the beer can protects the product’s flavor and makes it portable, shatterproof, and, it is even infinitely recyclable.”
While cans had been in use since the early 19th century to store and preserve food, the invention of the beer can revolutionized the beer industry. Canned beer made it possible to transport more beer at a single time and to distribute beer further away from a brewery. Today, cans account for 54 percent of beer packaging.
According to an economic study jointly commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association in 2012, U.S. brewers and beer importers are the foundation for an industry that directly and indirectly employs more than 2 million Americans. Beer also contributed $246.6 billion to America’s economy and generated $49 billion in local, state and federal taxes.
Companies in the United States that manufacture cans employ more than 20,000 people. The entire can industry, which includes food and beverage, generates more than $16 billion in revenue and $2.7 billion in taxes, which accounts for as much as $36.31 billion in total economic activity throughout the United States.