In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.
Although the official date of the first distribution is 1935, and is what you find when you google it, I did find this 1914 article on Sunday Saloon Rules that notes no canned beer will be sold during church hours.
In 1909, the American Can Company made an unsuccessful run on trying to use cans but prohibition stopped their attempts to try to perfect the packaging. Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.
In the newspapers you can find small hints that canned beer was on the horizon and that they were working preemptively to show the industry why it would be of great use. The article below points out a valuable highlight of canned brew: the container will not break. I am sure that would have been most useful to saloons and bars of the time.
I was really glad to find one of the first advertisements for the canned Krueger’s Cream Ale. This was from a Richmond newspaper, where the beer was initially distributed with a 91% approval rating.
I would like to highlight from the advertisement above that these cans were nothing like what we have today. It would be some years before a pull tab was invented. This creation looked more like that of a can of motor oil when opened.
The possibilities for distribution seemed endless:
After a few months of testing the waters, American Can and Kreuger Brewing decided to make it official and to roll out the sale of canned beer to all their territory.
The first distribution of cans in January 1935 totaled 2,000. By March, a few two months later, it jumped to 30,000 per day!
It is interesting to see what other industries are affected by innovation. Some for the good…
And for others, maybe not as much…
Whichever your preference, bottle or can, the innovations of brewers to get their product to market has been an interesting journey and this is but one step in the journey,