Some craft brewers are ditching bottles for cans and clapping their hands. Should we all be applauding the move?
Well, if it's a local brewery, the difference between glass and aluminum packaging might not amount to much, even for a heavy liquid like beer, since it's only transported over a short distance. I'd also be curious to see how the reductions in moving from bottles to cans stack up against large-scale benefits of bottle bills, which encourage recycling in 11 states.
Millie Milliken recently looked into the matter for Triple Pundit and has this to say:
The intricacies of energy consumed in producing aluminum versus glass can be debated until the participants are blue in the face, but one thing is certain: the location the beer is produced, the final destination, and recycling efficiencies all play major roles in the environmental analysis.
I'll just refer to the Founding Fathers on this one. Drinking from wooden casks or modern kegs cuts carbon emissions by about a third. Drinking socially at taverns built our nation, right? Besides, brewing George Washington's strong ale might even make sense when it comes to the more contentious issue of taste. As Rick Ball suggests in Guernica: "You can make a mediocre ale and no one will notice; with a lager, there is nowhere to hide."