Beer is one of the oldest, and most delicious, of beverages. It’s been brewed and consumed with mirth and good cheer for over 8,000 years, and has evolved into many different styles that appeal to a variety of people’s tastes. However, as beer has evolved, so has our way of distributing it. No longer does a good pint of ale come from an oak barrel at ye olde local pub. Today, it comes in either a can or glass bottle that was manufactured with non-renewable materials and then shipped from there to a brewery, who then poured the beer in, sealed it up, and sent it to your local store. (Caveat: Most states forbid breweries from selling directly to retailers, let alone individuals, forcing them to use third-party distributors)
While this modern distribution system does wonders for the beer enthusiast’s ability to try new beer, it does have a costly effect on the environment. That is why one brewery by the name of Red Hare Brewing Co. is making a crucial change to its bottling system. Based in Marietta, GA, Red Hare has worked with an Atlanta aluminum recycling company, Novelis, to switch over its canned production line to use new high-recycled-content aluminum cans.
The aluminum sheets used to manufacture the cans consists of up to 100% recycled aluminum, higher than any aluminum sheets offered by other manufacturers. Novelis calls its unique aluminum Evercan, as the aluminum contained in each can is drawn from recycled cans. So once a beverage maker has switched its production line to Evercans, it never has to use virgin aluminum resources.
The brewery’s switch to all-can production also brings with it a number of side benefits. Aluminum cans provide a more reliable seal than glass bottles, which is an important factor for brewers who need to keep bacteria and air out of their product until it reaches consumers. Beer is also highly susceptible to going stale or getting “skunked” when exposed to light. That has always been a problem for brewers that use glass bottles, which is why many breweries opt for the classic brown bottles for distribution. Brown glass blocks a larger portion of visible and ultraviolet light than green or clear bottles. But the best way to protect beer from light is by using aluminum cans which block out all forms of light.
Red Hare hopes that its decision to utilize Novelis’ Evercans will spur other brewers around the country to make the switch. Aluminum cans not only allow beer makers to decrease their environmental impact, but it also allows them to keep their product as fresh as if they were drawing it straight from the local tap.