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Tech. Q. Master Brew. Assoc. Am., 1997, 34(4), 276-280.

The development of the aluminum can.

Coors, W.

This item in the series of old papers reprinted under the heading "Brewing! Have things changed so much?" was first published in 1959. While beer cans had already been in use for some decades at that time, they had always been made of tinplated steel. According to this paper, the idea of using aluminium to make beer cans was first proposed in the early 1950s by one Louis Bronstein, initially with little success, but in 1954 the Coors Brewing Company and Beatrice Foods (the owner of a brewery in Hawaii, where the importation of steel cans was unacceptably expensive) took up the idea. Before finally launching its first aluminium canned beer in January 1959, Coors had to develop a method for producing the "slugs" (the aluminium discs from which the cans were made) cheaply from bars of aluminium, as the price of ready made slugs was unacceptably high, and then, for the same reason, to set up facilities for making the can lids. It was also found that aluminium is much more affected by friction, so that the canning equipment then used with steel cans would not work efficiently due to the frequency of sticking and jamming, a problem that was only overcome by applying antifriction coatings to all surfaces likely to make contact with the cans. Filling was carried out in a sterile room, making it unnecessary to pasteurize the beer.
Keywords : aluminium beer can canning production