The Indie Drinks Can Advice Service provides information and insights for independent drinks manufacturers exploring the can as a packaging option

Myths and Facts

The can, what’s not to love? Consumers are drawn to products that simplify their lives and catch their eye; the can is lightweight, convenient, chills quickly, is easy to carry, often features vibrant eye-catching imagery and, of course, is infinitely recyclable. Cans are simple to distribute; they are space-efficient meaning more can be shipped during any one journey, and, because they are lightweight, the vehicles transporting them require less fuel. Retailers love cans too. They look great on the shelf, keep drinks fresher, more authentic tasting for longer, and utilise retail space efficiently therefore taking up less room on the shelf.

Despite these obvious benefits, there are still a number myths and fallacies about canned drinks floating around. Below we address these and dispel them by providing you with the vital facts…

FICTION: Canning my drink will compromise its quality

FACT: The quality of a drink in a can is equal, if not better than in other formats. The technology involved in making and filling cans is advanced, plus they protect from light and other elements, ensuring that the taste and quality of drink isn’t compromised in any way.

You needn’t be concerned that placing your cherished drink into a new pack will force you to alter its intended characteristics. Canning your drink will not require you to change your gas levels. In fact, brewers and other drinks makers are choosing cans as they keep the drink’s look and taste just the way they intended.

FICTION: Consumers prefer other pack formats for their beverages

FACT: Consumers are looking to buy their drinks in a pack that is sustainable and can easily travel with them. That is the can. A study, by GfK for BCME and the UK Can Makers, which examined attitudes and perception to drinks packaging, reported that consumers agree drinks from cans taste good; they are perceived as delivering “good value for money” and “freshness”, as well as a “recyclable pack” that is “easy to drink from”.

Cans have been celebrating a surge in popularity over the last few years. According to the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), sales of 250ml cans have risen by 26.5% since 2011.

FICTION: Cans are environmentally unfriendly

FACT: The beverage can is actually the most recycled drinks pack in the world. Cans are an efficient, sustainable packaging solution. Every single one can be recycled; recycling takes just 60 days and results in no loss of quality. In other words, the metal used to create cans is a permanently available material; with every new cycle a new product application can be formed and this cycle can occur an infinite number of times.


FICTION: Consumers don’t realise they can recycle their beverage cans

FACT: Not true; consumers have embraced can recycling! Through the work of Every Can Counts and Metal Matters in the UK, it is becoming easier to find recycling points. The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the UK is currently 70% according to Alupro.

Additionally, Metal Packaging Europe’s recycling mark for cans is designed to engage consumers and remind them of their role in the continuous lifecycle of metal. The message ‘METAL recycles forever,’ together with the symbol, is providing clearer information to consumers.

FICTION: We don’t have the ability or capacity to can our drinks

FACT: If you’re one of the many independent drinks manufacturers already interested in canning but unsure how to make your dream a reality, check out our supplier page for a list of who to contact to help you on your way.

The fact is, size and volume are no longer the challenge they once were. A rise in short-run and mobile canning line options means that most companies can realistically place their product in a can. Even better, the cost of canning is starting to fall due to changing technology and demand from small and independent firms.

FICTION: I’ve heard that drinks in cans taste off

FACT: There are many that would argue that, but in fact, canning is the best way to keep beverages tasting good. When people think that their drink tastes ‘off ’ it’s usually the result of oxygenation. When a drink is exposed to air, chemical reactions take place that make the taste change rapidly. Cans are air-tight; seamed ends mean there is no way that air is going to get in until someone pops the ring-pull.

When it comes to beer, light also has an impact (specifically light with a blue wavelength). When beer has been exposed to ultraviolet light for a period of time, hop-derived molecules, called isohumulones, break down. Some of these bind with sulphur atoms and create an unpleasant taste and aroma, commonly referred to as ‘skunked’ beer. That’s why it’s so brilliant that cans are solid; allowing no light to pass their walls, they prevent this reaction.

FICTION: Consumers think canned drinks have a metallic taste

FACT: One of the biggest misconceptions about a drink in a can is that it tastes ‘tinny’. This isn’t true. Because all modern cans are lined, they prevent any flavour transfer from the metal into the drink: they’re not much different from a metal keg.

BONUS FACT: Cans have the best ‘opening noise’ – Pop-click- Pssshhhhhhhhhtttt …mouth watering!