Drinks can in time

The history of cans started a long time ago. In the 18th century, when campaigns lasted for months or even years, Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies suffered from terrible hunger. It was not because they had no food, but after some time their food got spoiled due to poor stability. So he set a price for finding a way how to preserve the food – this led finally to the first can preserving food in 1810.

Since then a lot happened. The world´s very first beer can was unveiled in the USA in 1935 and from that time on beverage cans became an inextricable part of our modern lives. Today more than 250 billion cans are sold in a year. Can you believe that?

The drinks can in time

  • In 1935, the first beverage can, the "Krueger" beer can, was introduced to the US market.
  • By the end of the first year in the beverage can's history, 200 million beer cans had been sold.
  • By 1936, the time was right for canned beer outside the USA. Already in 1937, 23 breweries in the United Kingdom were supplying the market with 40 different brands of beer in cans.
  • In 1937 also the first softdrinks were filled in cans and were sold in the USA.
  • The introduction of the beverage can in Europe followed quickly, in the UK in 1937.
  • During the 1950s and 1960s, the beer can comprised three sections: a soldered body, a bottom end and a top end.
  • The first two-piece followed onto the market in 1974.
  • The weight of the beverage can changed drastically: In 1951 the can still weighed 83 grammes but by 1974 this had been reduced to just 38 grammes – today, however, the weight of a beverage can is just 16 grammes (0.5 l can).
  • Changes in the form of appearance of the can develop: size, form and design changes. Individual cans conquer the market.
  • The tremendous success of the beverage can continues: Due to the light weight and unbreakable qualities the can is a most efficient packaging for the producers and the fillers on the one hand and is the most convenient drinks package for the consumers on the other hand.
  • Efforts on can recycling evolve: Can recycling saves rare primary resources and reduces energ consumption by 95%.
  • In 2011 72% of all cans in Europe were recycled. The goal for 2020 is 80%.


Innovation accompanies the evolution of the can since its beginning, but the innovation potential of the beverage can has by no means been exhausted: considerable research and development is still being carried out today to constantly enhance the can for the benefit of can makers, fillser - and consumers.


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