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Beer

The beer can turns 80 this weekend, celebrate by cracking open a cold one

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Cans of Bud Light and Budweiser are America's most bought beer. (Reuters)

Beer cans may be a staple of college culture and backyard barbecues but they haven’t been around forever. 

It’s hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t head to the convenience store and pick up a 24-pack for an impromptu party.

But did you know the first beer can was sold on Jan. 24 1935? Celebrate the beer can’s 80th birthday by cracking open a cold one this Saturday.

In the 1930’s, this new invention was a result of brewers attempts to innovate after Prohibition ended in 1933, according to Time. American Can Co. had been working to get beer in cans since the early 1900s but found it difficult to can the carbonated beverage without exploding. 

After two decades, these stalwart drink engineers figured out that lining steel cans with a lacquer-like material used to line kegs would keep the 80 lbs. per sq. in. of pressure at bay.

The first beers ever sold in a can were Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale, hitting  shelves in Richmond, Va. In 1935. The cans were popular and quickly sold out. 

Drinkers reported that the canned brew tasted more like draft beer than when served in bottles. It was believed back then that light could not penetrate aluminum like it does with a glass container. Cans also required no deposit and could be returned to the store for a refund. In a poll of 2,000 Krueger drinkers, canned beers received a whopping 91 per cent approval rating.

Fast forward to today. In 2012, canned beer sales accounted for 53 percent of all market share, trumping bottled beer sales which accounted for about 37 percent. The convenience and portability of a relatively lightweight drinking vessel apparently can’t be beat.

Cheers!