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


Sugar free, mixers and a hot summer drive growth of cans in soft drinks market

Canned drinks have seen a growth surge in the soft drinks sector following the hot summerand rising popularity of low sugar beverages, according to the latest research revealed by the Can Makers, the UK industry trade body for drinks can manufacturers.

The recently imposed sugar tax has driven the popularity of sugar free alternatives, which has subsequently fuelled the growth of canned carbonated soft drinks. Sugar is the number one health concern for consumers for the fourth consecutive year, according to Nielsen consumer research (2018), with half of British shoppers wanting to purchase healthy products.

Part of this increase can also be attributed to the hot summer. Weather has a big impact on sales across the retail industry and drinks cans are no exception. The market research, conducted by Nielsen, shows soft drinks were the second fastest growing super category this year. Looking at cans specifically, the pack format experienced a 4% sales increase versus last year(Units, MAT September 2018), meaning cans now account for 20% of soft drink unit sales. The convenient, lightweight and easily chilled drinks pack was a top choice for many consumers to quench their thirst in the heat.

There is also a clear trend of consumers moving towards larger single can multipacks; 330ml can multipacks (large packs of 24) experienced a rapid 15% growth as shoppers switch from large multi serve bottles.


The future mixer trend

Mixers are playing a key role in the soft drinks can market as well, with traditional mixers in can increasing by 39% (Units, YA 2018). As people see cans as an affordable yet premium pack format that fits in with their lifestyle and drinks consumption habits change, premium mixers are becoming more and more popular with consumers. The can sizes available are great for mixers too. A 150ml can is an ideal amount of mixer to be used for one drink. There is no need to leave half empty bottles or having to use flat tonic for the next drink. Mixers paired with gin in particular are on the rise as gin has also experienced a significant increase in sales. This area of the market looks set to continue to grow for beverage cans.

Marcel Arsand, Chairman of the Can Makers says,

“Soft drinks continue to be a key growth driver for the drinks can market. Consumers shopping habits are clearly changing as they seek lower sugar alternatives that can be bought in bulk and are convenient. Combined with the need to use more sustainable packaging, now is a great time to be switching more soft drinks production to the infinitely recyclable aluminium can.”

Research conducted by Nielsen into the soft drinks market, 2018.

Cider, Craft Beer and Soft Drinks fuel canned beverage growth

Canned drinks are seeing significant growth in the UK market, according to the latest Nielsen research revealed today by the Can Makers, with carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), craft beer and flavoured cider proving to be the main driver behind recent rise in popularity.

According to research conducted by Nielsen, CSDs continue to be the largest market for beverage cans, growing by +5 per cent units (MAT to June 2017).

The overall cider market growth areas are all in cans too. Glass and PET pack formats experienced declines in unit sales of -9 per cent and -5 per cent respectively, whilst the cans’ market share grew by +6 per cent so far this year (MAT June 2018).

The change in consumer perception around the beverage can as a premium product for great tasting drinks has had an impact on growth, as well as the overall experience it provides, which fits in with today’s lifestyle.

With growing interest and concern over packaging’s environmental impact, consumers now want to know what happens to the packaging once they’ve used it and cans have the best recycling and sustainability record today. Beverage cans are not just ‘recyclable’ (which consumers are increasingly aware has little true meaning) but are also already highly recycled. In the UK, 72 per cent of all aluminium cans were recycled back into other products in 2017.

Marcel Arsand, Chairman of the Can Makers says, “Cans are a great choice for drinks brands, retailers and consumers alike. We expect to continue to see greater interest in drink cans pack format after witnessing the success craft beer in cans has enjoyed. Not only are cans convenient and easy to chill, they are also infinitely recyclable. This means that consumers can enjoy their favourite drink in a packaging that can be back on the shelf as another drinks can in as little as 8 weeks.”


Flavoured cider trend

Flavoured cider in cans continues to rise in popularity as more consumers look for new tastes and experiences beyond the traditional apple cider. This is highlighted by the 6 per cent jump in sales of flavoured cider in cans last year. The combination of a different taste sensation and a completely sustainable pack format are making canned cider a hit with consumers. Smaller pack sizes are also a growth driver, as it meets the convenience needs of consumers too.

Craft shows no sign of slowing down

Furthermore, Nielsen’s research confirmed the craft beer trend is still on the rise in the UK and continues to thrive in cans, growing notably faster than bottled craft beer – +66 per cent versus -3 per cent respectively in the first half of 2018. Retailers have been increasing their product ranges in the past year, making canned craft beverages more accessible for consumers.

Younger customers in particular are drawn to the bold, vibrant 360 degree designs that have become synonymous with craft beer. On the other hand, brewers like cans because they are easy to transport and protect the beverage from light, ensuring the drink they are so passionate about tastes the same when consumed as it does when brewed.

According to Nielsen, there have also been early indications of increased interest in craft cider, which is also expected to generate further interest in the can pack format, following the success of canned craft beer.

The Can Makers appoint new Chairman

The Can Makers, the industry trade body representing drinks can manufacturers in the UK, have announced the appointment of Marcel Arsand as the new chairman. Marcel, taking over from Martin Constable, brings over 10 years of waste management and sustainability knowledge and experience to the role.

Marcel comments, “It is an exciting time to be taking on the role of chairman of the Can Makers as we are seeing greater interest than ever before in drinks packaging. Brands, retailers and consumers alike are now more conscientious and looking for alternative solutions that fit into the circular economy.”

“I thank Martin Constable for his hard work and dedication as chairman over the last three years. I hope to continue to raise the profile of the drinks can as a sustainable pack format. As an infinitely recyclable material and with a 72 per cent recycling rate in the UK, the beverage can is the most recycled drinks container in the world. The can is a suitable pack choice for brands and retailers looking to improve their drinks packaging sustainability credentials.”

Having previously worked in the food and drink sectors in the UK and abroad, including Recoup, WRAP and DS Smith, Marcel is currently Sustainability Manager at Ball Beverage Packaging Europe. He has developed an extensive knowledge of packaging and recycling, and has taken part in ground-breaking research on methods of identifying and separating plastic packaging for recycling, as well as on new technologies that can increase the shelf-life of food products and therefore reduce food waste.

He has studied ways of developing new end-markets for recycled material and has developed online tools that encourage the design and manufacture of plastic packaging that is compatible with existing recycling infrastructures. He has also been involved in delivering sustainability strategies for both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Marcel has a background as a bioscientist, with two MScs – in integrated waste management and anaerobic digestion treatment – from Cranfield University in the UK. He is also a chartered member of the Institute of Waste Managers.

Aluminium drinks cans are most recycled drinks container in the world

New stats from Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) confirm the top recycling status of the beverage can

Aluminium beverage cans have now been certified as the world’s most recycled drinks container at the recent Smithers Pira Sustainability in Packaging Europe Conference in Barcelona. Seven out of 10 drinks cans sold in the UK are recycled and 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.

Metal, particularly aluminium, has long been a leader in recycling because it is a permanently available material that can be recycled again and again, without losing any quality of its structural integrity. But it’s not just aluminium – steel for packaging recorded an average European recycling rate of 78% in 2015, a record performance, which included five countries exceeding 85%. With greater focus being placed on packaging, consumers are now more concerned about waste produced and want to be informed of the most up to date recycling statistics.

Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers, says, “The news that aluminium cans are now confirmed as the most recycled drinks packaging in the world is great news for environmentally concerned consumers.

The can is the ideal packaging of choice for brands to meet their own sustainability targets as well as meet customer demand for ‘greener’ packaging.”

Whilst these numbers are encouraging, there remains much to do to reach the 2020 metal packaging industry ambition of an 80% European average rate. Metal packaging must be fully recognised in the consumers’ eyes as the model for real recycling. To reach this objective, consumer engagement campaigns, like EveryCanCounts and MetalMatters, are crucial.

It’s not just down to conscientious consumers however, there is a need for the right legislative framework to create a functioning Circular Economy. It is inherent in a circular economy that it starts and ends with a new product that can be recycled again and again. Recycling rates are a good indicator of whether or not recyclates are used for new applications. Packaging and packaging waste policies should be based on sound life-cycle assessments. In a Circular Economy this means the focus should be on multiple-life-cycles.

 Cans make up over a quarter of craft beer sales in the UK in multiple grocers and off licenses

Nielsen research shows rise in popularity for canned craft beer

Metal is a permanently available material that can be recycled again and again, without losing any of its structural integrity. This is known as ‘real recycling’. In 2016, seven out of every ten aluminium drink cans sold in the UK were recycled.  This 70 per cent milestone makes a major contribution to the European metal packaging sector’s own ambition to reach and exceed an average 80 per cent metal packaging recycling rate by 2020 (Alupro).


Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers says: “The growth of the canned craft beer market over the past year has exceeded expectations and has paved the way for other craft drinks’ makers to enter the market. We are beginning to see a trend of adult soft drinks and cocktails looking to achieve similar success.

“Craft brewers have understood that choosing the can is the best packaging option for retaining the product’s quality and authenticity, delivering those complex tastes that consumers love. It has inspired other drinks and majors to take a fresh look at their packaging and how they can use it to be innovative and stand out on the shelf to the consumer.”

 Indie Drinks Can Advice Service launches

The Can Makers reveal new website to help craft drink companies get it in the can

A new Indie Drinks Can Advice site has launched to help all craft drinks makers get their drinks into cans. Whether a brewer, soft drink maker, winemaker or distiller, the site provides all the information a newcomer needs from a single source.  Run by the Can Makers, the trade body representing drinks can manufacturers in the UK, the site includes interactive insights and video content around the infinitely recyclable can. Expert interviews and an all-important list of suppliers are on hand to help those looking to can their beverage.

A thought-provoking insights section features interactive articles and whitepapers to educate on the market and options available, while video content gives insight into mobile canning and the recycling benefits of the can. Those exploring the can as a packaging option can also draw inspiration from interviews with successful companies such as Dalston Cola and CanOWater (newly stocked in Waitrose and Selfridges respectively). A suppliers and contacts database makes life easier for those building their brand, while a news section keeps visitors up-to-date on developments in cans. A myths and facts section dispels common canning misconceptions.

The site is also home to Can Creator, the world’s first free 3D drinks can design app, used by thousands of designers, brands, manufacturers and students to quickly and easily try out new can design ideas.

The new Indie Drinks Can Advice Service site reflects the appetite for beverage cans, the most recycled drinks pack in the world, as consumers increasingly demand better environmental practices from the brands they’re buying. Recent research by the Can Makers and GfK shows that more than half of consumers will drink from a can at least once a week, while the recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the UK has reached a new milestone 70% for 2016 (Alupro).

Martin Constable, Chairman at the Can Makers says: “Cans offer fantastic benefits to a wide variety of drinks manufacturers, and we’ve seen some great success stories in recent years. The site is very much a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to the can to showcase their drink, and we hope to encourage even more brands to emerge in cans in the future.”

Can Creator launches label design option for craft drink brands at SIBA BeerX

The Can Makers, the trade body representing drinks can manufacturers in the UK, has launched an enhanced version of its popular Can Creator ( app for craft drink brands.  For the first time, drink brands and designers wanting to visualise and share their creations in 3D, can apply artwork to a label template for virtual application onto a 33cl can. They also have a new option to test their design on a black, as well as a silver can.

Currently celebrating its fourth year, Can Creator was the world’s first free 3D drinks can design app. Since then, thousands of designers, brands, students and manufacturers have used it to bring their print-to-can designs to life across a variety of can sizes, and with a variety of finishes.

The app’s new capabilities reflect an expanding can market. Over the last two years, the demand for craft beer in cans has driven the launch of affordable, short-run and mobile canning companies which offer brands the option of direct-to-can printing, or labels. Can Creator’s new label template allows brands to test their designs and choose between both formats.

Can Creator can be used by anyone; there’s no need for complicated or costly software or expert technical knowledge. It is perfect for craft drink brands that want to build design concepts at speed and who may not have a retained design agency.

Martin Constable, Chairman at the Can Makers says: “Since its launch, Can Creator has proved a popular and powerful tool for brands and designers. With a growing marketplace, the time was right to give the app a facelift and promote the new design options available. The can is the coolest pack for craft drinks right now; coloured cans and labels are playing a significant role in the design strategy for many brands.”

As well as different can sizes, colours and the choice between print-to-can and the new label template, Can Creator gives brands the chance to explore innovative printing techniques, such as heat sensitive thermochromic inks and tactile finishes. Once designs are complete, the can be rotated and viewed from every angle, snapshots can also be taken, downloaded and shared easily amongst collaborators. Files may also be saved for future use.

Martin finishes: “We are launching the refreshed Can Creator to coincide with SIBA BeerX, one of the most significant events for craft brewers in the UK. This year, for the first time, the exhibition features a can bar, and cans are being used by an increasing portion of the association’s membership. This is just the start of the trend. Because of the huge benefits the can offers: its recyclability and it ability to maintain the integrity of beer for the consumer, keeping it fresh, sealing it from light and air and making it quick to chill, we expect more brewers to embrace the format in the months and years to come.”

The Can Creator app is now available for free online and to download for Mac and PC at and

The Can Makers to sponsor first ‘Can Bar’ at BeerX

The Can Makers, the industry trade body representing manufacturers of beverage cans in the UK, will sponsor the first ever Can Bar to appear at SIBA BeerX, 16-19 March 2017.

The Can Bar will be based in the “Festival of Beer Brewers’ Yard” and will feature more than 65 different independent beer brands in a can.

Neil Walker, SIBA PR & Marketing Manager comments: “More and more SIBA members are putting their independent craft beer into cans and we’re seeing real growth in the popularity of the format with both retailers and consumers. As an organisation we are recognising this growth by introducing a dedicated can bar at this year’s BeerAlive! craft beer showcase for the first time ever and are proud to be partnering with The Can Makers on this exciting development.”


Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers comments:The can is of growing importance in the craft beer world. Brewers clearly recognise the benefits the can brings them in maintaining the integrity of beer, protecting their drink, keeping it fresh, sealing it from light and air and making it quick to chill and therefore enjoy. The can is the ideal pack for brewers and consumers alike.”

Martin will also be delivering a presentation on Thursday 16th March in the Beer Garden on the importance of can design. It with focus on the rise in bold, colourful can designs, with which brewers have found fresh ways to connect with audiences and celebrate their creations. The Can Makers will explore the possibilities the can presents to brands and explain how brewers can best take advantage of its 360 degree canvas.


77 Per Cent of Young People Drink from Cans at Least Once a Week

40 per cent of consumers call the can their drink pack of choice

Research carried out by GfK and commissioned by BCME has explored the consumer perception of canned drinks, and how this has changed in the last decade. The results of the research have shown a positive upward trend in popularity for the can, particularly with younger age groups. Today cans are seen as delivering a good tasting product in an easy to drink, recyclable pack offering good value for money; 71 per cent of people say that canned drinks taste good, a 16 per cent increase since the research was first conducted in 2007.

The can is progressively becoming the consumer’s drink pack of choice. In 2007, 36 per cent of consumers in the UK said the can was the pack they drank from most. This number has increased to 40 per cent. On average, 55 per cent said they currently drink a canned beverage at least once a week, a figure which is higher for males at 61 per cent and slightly less for females at 48 per cent. The percentage is notably in the 14-17 age category where 77 per cent drink from a can at least once a week. These numbers correlates with the rise in the energy drinks market; 52 per cent of energy drink consumers now say the can is the pack they drink from most. In 2007 that figure was just 34 per cent.

Cans are now increasingly being recognised for their great design. In 2007 when just 16 per cent of people agreed that cans looked good. That figure is now 44 per cent. With more exciting and innovative can designs hitting the market, this is a number that is expected to rise further in years to come.  Furthermore, consumers increasingly feel the can is good value for money: 64 per cent would say this is true in 2016 compared to 35 per cent in 2007.


Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers says: “The growth of the canned craft beer movement in recent years has played an important role in changing the general perception of the can’s aesthetics. Bold, innovative designs are helping craft beer brands form, and cement an image of the can as a premium pack. As a result of this, we might now expect adult soft drinks in a can to follow a similar design path.”

Respondents answered questions about the environmental attributes of drinks packages alongside as their own general attitudes towards recycling. In 2007, the UK was supportive of recycling with 77 per cent saying that they at least try to recycle most things, but now in 2016, this figure has increased further to an impressive 89 per cent. That consumers care about the environment is good news for the can which is 100% recyclable and made from permanently available materials. Encouragingly, 74 per cent are aware of this and believe that all, or the majority of recycled cans are made into new products. Just one per cent thought that beverage cans are not at all recyclable.

Martin continues: “This research tells a very positive story for the drinks can, a product that has been in production for more than 80 years but which continues to grow in popularity to this day.  The results are important for drink brands and can be used to benefit marketing strategies, identifying which demographic groups to target in order to drive growth. ”

The research is a follow up study to a similar study conducted by GfK in 2007 on the attitudes of consumers towards drinks packaging.  The sample was demographically representative of 14-54 year olds who drank carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), energy, sports drinks and beer (aged 18 and over).

All Winning Brewers from Indie Beer Can Festival 2016 Commercially Canning their Beer

All winners from the Indie Beer Can Festival 2016 are now commercially canning their beer. Just four months on from the market’s premier indie canned beer competition, brews from Windsor & Eton, Williams Bros Brewing Co. and Firebird Brewing Co can be purchased and enjoyed in a canned format.

At the final of the Indie Beer Can Festival in May, Uprising Treason by Windsor & Eton was awarded Best Ale and Best in Show. Within hours of the event, Kieran Johnson, head brewer at Uprising (a division of Windsor & Eton for up-and-coming brewers) began investigating canning options; he is now co-packing the beer with another brewer.

Kieran says: “The months since the Indie Beer Can Festival have been a whirlwind of activity as we’ve been working hard to achieve our goal of canning Uprising Treason. We’ve come a long way already, but now is the real test. We are excited to receive the first wave of public opinion – though from early feedback, we are extremely confident that it will be received well.”

Uprising Treason isn’t the first winner from the 2016 Indie Beer Can Festival to start canning its brews; winner of Best Lager, Scottish brewer Williams Brother’s, has also embraced the pack. After installing its own line it has now begun to can its Lager /IPA hybrid, Caesar Augustus. August also saw the winner of Best Other/Speciality beer, Firebird Brewing, begin production of its Fireweisse Weisbier and Noble IPA in a can.


A further finalist in the Best Other/Speciality beer category, Earth Ale, expects to be canning its competition Entry, Spicy Weiss, by the end of September 2016 while Little Beer Co, a finalist in the Lager category hopes to be canning its entry, 1917, by the end of the year.

Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers comments: “When we launched the Indie Beer Can Festival we wanted to demonstrate to independent brewers how cool canned beer could be; we have achieved that. When you see that a brewer, which entered the competition to trial their beer in can, has been convinced of its potential and formally invested in the pack, buying their own line, co-packing with others or outsourcing to filler: that’s when you know you’ve made a positive impression on their business and the market.”

At the time of the Indie Beer Can Festival, Uprising Treason was a described as having a flavour that provides a punchbowl of fruits set against a sweet caramel and crusty bread structure. Its taste finishes with a juicy lingering bitterness. The judging team, which included Lidl’s then beer, wine and spirits buyer, Ben Hulme,  praised the beer’s balance of flavours and felt it would appeal to both ale and lager drinkers. They said its gorgeous aromatics translated perfectly onto the palate.

The first Indie Beer Can Festival took place in 2014; of the eighteen finalists never before in a can, from that and the 2016 competition, half now have commercially available canned beers.

Indie Beer Can Festival celebrates the fastest-growing trend in craft beer

Uprising Treason crowned UK and Eire’s best indie beer in a can

Uprising Treason by Windsor & Eton has won ‘Best in Show’ at the Indie Beer Can Festival. The event saw UK and Eire’s leading indie brewers gather together to champion the hottest trend in the independent beer market: cans.  The market has grown from four brands in can two years ago to over 100 and based on the success of the event, this growth is set to continue.

Sponsors, the Can Makers and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) have also announced the category winners for Best Ale (Uprising Treason by Windsor & Eton Brewery), Best Lager (Brotherhood Lager by William Bros. Brewing Co.) and Best ‘Other’ (Fireweisse by Firebird Brewing Co.). Uprising Treason was also awarded best ‘New to Can’.

The Best in Show beer is a described as having a flavour that provides a punchbowl of fruits set against a sweet caramel and crusty bread structure. Its taste finishes with a juicy lingering bitterness. The judging team praised the beer’s balance of flavours and felt it would appeal to both ale and lager drinkers. They said its gorgeous aromatics translated perfectly onto the palate.”

Kieran Johnson, Production Manager at Windsor & Eton comments: “Going to the ceremony, I knew there were other beers competing that I loved and enjoyed so I wouldn’t have thought in a month of Sunday’s that we would win. It’s been a real, but brilliant shock.

“I am personally very influenced by the US market. It has spent the last ten years showing the world market that the can is the way forward and I’m so glad that the UK is now following suit. I truly believe that the can is the best format to preserve the integrity of the beer and make any beer look awesome.”

An expert taste-judging panel included industry experts Adrian Tierney-Jones and Annabel Smith, Ben Hume, then Beer Buyer for Lidl (now Head of Wine for Lidl Intl), as well as Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers.

Ben Hulme comments: “The range of tastes and can designs at the Festival has been nothing short of spectacular and I have really enjoyed tasting each brand. The independent beer industry is one that celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship and these qualities have been on display in abundance. I feel privileged to have been a judge, encouraging a brilliant industry.”

Aside from preserving the quality of brews, canned craft beer has also become synonymous with cool design. Recognising this, the festival introduced a new design category. Judged by Sean Thomas, Creative Director at lead design agency, jkr and Claudio Vecchio, Creative Partner at Midday, the winner of Best Design was Steam Lager by Redwell Brewery.

Sean Thomas, Creative Director, jkr, comments: “The Redwell can made us smile from every angle. The design had a great tone of voice and instantly appealed to us aesthetically. There was loads to discover; from the bottle hidden in the hour glass to the branding hidden in the stars – it all came together to secure its place as our winner. The label also did its job, telling us what the beer was about; we knew exactly what to expect when opening the can and we weren’t disappointed at all.”


Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers, says: “Two years ago there were only a handful of UK craft beers available in can. We couldn’t be prouder that this festival has supported such incredible and positive market growth.  We’d like to congratulate all the entrants and finalists who have done an amazing job showcasing indie beers in cans.”

Tony Jerome, SIBA Communications & Marketing Director adds: “Congratulations to Windsor & Eton brewery for their well-deserved win in the Indie Beer Can Festival competition 2016. The demand for independently brewed craft beer continues to grow and cans are becoming an important part of this exciting and diverse industry. I look forward to trying more fantastic canned beers from all of the competing breweries and the hundreds of SIBA member breweries across the UK in 2016.”

The second Indie Beer Can Festival launched in October 2015 with independent brewers in the UK invited to submit their beers, regardless of pack format. From over 130 entrants, 36 semi-finalists were selected before 13 were chosen as finalists. Those not already in can won the opportunity to trial their brand in a can for the Festival final.

Winner list:

Best in Show: Uprising Treason, Windsor & Eton

Best Ale: Uprising Treason, Windsor & Eton

Best Lager: Brotherhood Lager by William Bros. Brewing Co.

Best ‘Other’: Fireweisse by Firebird Brewing Co.

Best Design: Steam Lager by Redwell Brewery


List of all thirteen finalists:

Category: Ale
Leaping Legend
Hall & Woodhouse
Uprising Treason
Windsor & Eton Brewery
Blonde Bird
Greyhound Brewery
New World IPA
Northern Monk Brew Co
Category: Lager
Brotherhood Lager
William Bro’s Brewing Company
Liberty Pils
Freedom Brewery
The Little Beer Corporation Ltd
Steam Lager
Category: Other
Spicy Weiss
Earth Ale Brewery
Bad Kitty
Brass Castle Brewery
Firebird Brewing Company
Oatmeal Stout
Northern Star Mocha Porter
Northern Monk Brew Co

Strong Canned Drink Sales Reported Despite Small Dip in Can Market

Following a year of unpredictable weather and the UK’s wettest summer for three years, the Can Makers, the industry trade body representing UK drinks can manufacturers, have reported a dip in UK can deliveries. Drinks can deliveries were 9.628bn, a fall of 1.9% on 2014. The sector was affected by the lack of a global sporting event on the scale of the 2014 Football World Cup, as well as an increase in the number of carbonated soft drink (CSDs) and beer cans filled abroad and imported to UK for retail sale.

Deliveries of cans for beer and cider were 4,454 million, a reduction on 2014 of 1.5%, however Nielsen report retail sales of cans of beer and cider, level with 2014, and strong growth in retail sales of cider in cans. This was led by the performance of fruit cider in 33cl cans which grew by 50% year on year. Craft beer in cans also performed well in 2015, with many new labels now established on off trade and on supermarket shelves.


In the soft drinks sector, shipments of cans were 5,174 million a reduction of 2.3%, but Nielsen report retail sales of cans of soft drinks growing by 4.5% in 2015, with cans taking 1% market share from PET bottles. In both the soft drinks and beer sectors, there has been an emphasis in 2015 on 18+ size multi packs, no doubt reflecting the attractive retail propositions on offer.

Martin Constable, Chairman of the UK Can Makers comments: “Despite the unpredictable weather, cans have performed well in the retail market in 2015 with brand owners and consumers recognising their benefits for beer, cider and soft drinks.”

Indie Beer Can Festival returns with competition to find the nation’s best independent beer – in a can

The award-winning Indie Beer Can Festival: 2016, the world’s first UK and Eire-wide competition to crown the very best independent beer in cans is back by popular demand. Launched by the Can Makers in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the event will be judged by four industry expertsrising star, Ben Hulme, Head of Beers, Wines and Spirits at Lidl UK. Independent brewers can enter the competition at and vie for the unique opportunity to showcase their brews in a canned packaging format at the festival final.

Brewers can choose to enter one of three categories: ‘Best Ale’, ‘Best Lager’ or ‘Best ‘Other’. Finalists will automatically be eligible for an additional category: ‘Best Design’ and one beer will be crowned overall ‘Best in Show’. There is no limit on the number of beers that each brewery can enter and applications are welcomed from beers already in a can as well as those not yet canned.

Entries close at midnight on 11 December after which a first round of judging, based on written entries, will take place. Returning to the judging panel alongside Ben Hulme is Adrian Tierney-Jones, award winning writer and journalist. They will be joined by Annabel Smith, a renowned beer Sommelier who also worked as beer taster and a training manager at Cask Marque for a decade. Completing the line-up is Chairman of the panel, Martin Constable of the Can Makers.

Ben Hulme comments: “Consumer demand for independent beer is increasing year-on-year and I’m personally excited about how this market is continuing to evolve. For the last twelve months brewers and consumers have been dipping their toes into the canned beer market; now that market is preparing to go mainstream, I can’t wait to see where we are in a year’s time. It’s great to be involved in an event that is helping to drive this trend.”


The first round of judging will be followed by a blind taste-testing semi-final in January. Twelve beers will then proceed to the final on 12 May 2016; for each finalist whose chosen beer is not yet in cans, the Can Makers will arrange production of 100ltrs of their beer to be canned for the first time. Those brewers will also have the chance to work with the Can Makers’ in-house teams, and the Can Creator app, to create a 360o, eye-catching designs to decorate their cans.

Adrian Tierney-Jones, who returns to the panel for a second time, comments: “I had a fantastic time last year working with the emerging canned beer market and tasting a huge range of new and innovative brews. Some of the flavour combinations were truly remarkable. I can’t wait to see what we discover this time around – the entrants have a lot to live up to.”

At a final judging session, each canned beer will be scrutinised by the expert judges. Winners will be announced during the exclusive Indie Beer Can Festival that same evening. Throughout the event every finalist will have the opportunity to have their beers sampled by influential guests from the entire industry supply chain, as well as media and market influencers.

Martin Constable says: “We are delighted to be working with SIBA again to champion the canned beer movement and to present our new judging line-up. Since the last competition some of our entrants have begun canning their beers full-time, for them and others interested in canning, we have launched the Indie Beer Can Advice service. Through this site, in combination with the competition, we hope to provide a chance for brewers to explore the benefits of cans and make the most of this fast evolving market.”

Mike Benner, SIBA’s Managing Director, said: “It is great to see more innovative independent brewers investing in canning and supplying flavoursome beers in a can.  Cans are light, portable and quick to chill and therefore offer brewers new markets to enter. Add to that the incredible opportunity they provide for designers and brand owners to communicate the beer’s personality, and we can see why the can is gaining so many fans. SIBA is proud to support this fantastic event and we will be encouraging all of our craft brewing members to enter this prestigious competition.”

Drinks can market bolstered by strong CSD performance in the first half of 2015

  • CSD can deliveries increase to almost 2.6bn
  • Alcohol can deliveries reach 2.2bn

The Can Makers, the industry trade body representing manufacturers of beverage cans in the UK, have revealed strong performance from carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) in the first half of 2015. Cans for CSDs reached 2.597bn deliveries, representing an increase of 1.7% and over 400m units compared to the same period last year.

Nielsen data, which shows year to date retail sales to June 20th 2015, has revealed can growth of 7.1% by volume, well ahead of the total CSD market, which increased by 1.3%. Cans have increased total market share in the CSD sector, while PET saw decline driven by the poor performance of larger sizes.

While beer and cider results for the same period in 2014 were influenced heavily by the World Cup, a lack of large-scale sporting events in 2015 has had an impact on performance for all pack types.


Nielsen report that volume sales of beer and cider in cans, year to date to the 20th of June, echoed the decline in the overall market of 3% over the period. However, smaller sizes e.g. 330ml cans, a pack of choice for independently brewed beers in the UK, are proving popular, increasing by 18% across the Nielsen universe.

Looking at the overall market, total can deliveries reached 4.806bn in the first half of 2015, though figures give a slightly distorted view of the market when compared with the same period last year. The effect from the lack of sporting stimulus in 2015 has been a slight decline of less than 1% where last year’s World Cup provided a significant boost for take-home consumption of all canned drinks.

Martin Constable, Chairman of the Can Makers comments, “It’s fantastic to see an increase for canned CSDs so far this year and a resilient market, despite the lack of big sporting events which bolster sales.

“Strong performance of 330ml cans for beers is also encouraging. It proves that the unique benefits of the drinks can are being recognised by brewers and consumers alike. Since the Indie Beer Can Festival in 2014, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of beers in cans as more lines and mobile canning facilities open up the many possibilities to discerning audiences.“

Can Advisory Site to Guide Independent Brewers in their Quest to Can

The Indie Beer Can Advice website has been unveiled by the Can Makers, the industry trade body representing UK manufacturers of drinks cans. The site launches at a time of increased interest in canning by the nation’s indie brewers. It acts as an advisory service for those exploring the opportunity to put their product in a canned format for the first time. It introduces indie brewers to the range of affordable and low-volume canning options available and the advantages of putting their beers in can.

As the thirst for indie British beer rockets, the upwards trend is driving the increased availability of affordable short run canning lines to purchase, and mobile canning lines for hire. In recognition of this, the Indie Beer Can Advice site will be regularly updated with the latest information and industry contacts offering guidance, services and advice.

Martin Constable, chairman of the Can Makers, comments: “There are nearly 1,300 indie breweries operating in Britain and Eire right now – we can boast more breweries per head of the population than any other country in the world. Indie Beer Can Advice will help brewers explore the new packaging opportunities opening for them, and start canning, perhaps for the first time.

The independent canned beer movement started in Colorado in 2002 and spread rapidly. More than 500 breweries in North America now produce nearly 2000 different canned brews between them, and the trend has begun to catch on in the UK. In response to growing interest, last year the Can Makers hosted its inaugural Indie Beer Can Festival. More than 100 UK beers competed to be named the best independent beer in a can; most had never been canned before the festival final. Since the event, many of the competition’s entrants have gone on to explore canning their beers.

Aside from its suppliers’ page, the Indie Beer Can Advice site aims to provide all the information and guidance needed to help indie brewers decide on the best pack format for single serves of their artisan beers. A contact page can be used by brewers for those that have additional questions about beer canning or contacts.

Martin says: “We would encourage all indie brewers to visit the Indie Beer Can Advice website to explore the many benefits that are afforded by canning their beers. Canned beer also allows for cool and exciting packaging, such striking imagery opens the love of beer up to a wider audience and gives independent brewers the opportunity to introduce their brews to new audiences. Consumers are falling in love with the look, feel and taste of canned beer; it’s important that brewers know canning is a real option, in fact, it is the perfect packaging format for their brand.”

New Chairman Appointed to the Can Makers

The Can Makers, the industry trade body representing the UK manufacturers of drinks cans, have announced the appointment of Martin Constable as the new chairman. Martin brings over a decade of experience in the can industry to his role, taking over from Graham Fenton.

Martin Constable comments, “It is certainly an exciting time to be chairman of the Can Makers. We’ve seen strong market performance for drinks cans across the board, further recognition of the can’s unique sustainability credentials and independently brewed beer gain momentum with the Indie Beer Can Festival.

“I would like to thank Graham Fenton for his hard work and dedication as chairman. I hope to continue the great work he’s done to raise the profile of the drinks can as we enter the beer can’s 80th year.

The can has a lot to offer. It’s uniquely sustainable and the world’s most recyclable drinks pack as it’s made from permanently available material which is 100% and infinitely recyclable. Add eye-catching design, a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and the fact that cans maintain the integrity of drinks among the many benefits and it’s easy to see why the can is a drink pack of choice for consumers and brands alike.”

Martin’s career in the can making industry started when he joined Crown Packaging in 2004, going in as a UK Key Account Manager following 15 years at General Electric. He is now based at Crown Bevcan’s offices in Carlisle, where he is responsible for UK and Ireland as the Sales Director. Since joining the company more than 10 years ago, Martin has gained incredible insight within all aspects of the can making industry.

Record Year as UK Drinks Can Market Grows to 9.8bn in 2014

  • CSDs grow 2.8% to 5.296bn cans
  • Beer and cider up 1.9% to 4.523bn cans

As the nation enjoyed the warmest year since 1910, the Can Makers, the industry trade body representing UK drinks can manufacturers, have reported another year of record growth in 2014. Drinks can deliveries reached 9.819bn for the first time, an increase of 228m units, up 2.4% on 2013 across the combined beer and cider and carbonated soft drink (CSD) can markets.

Growth for CSDs was strong, with can deliveries up 146m units to 5.296bn, representing an increase of 2.8% compared to the previous year.

In the Nielsen universe, sales of CSDs in cans continued to flourish in 2014. Share of the overall CSD packaging mix for drinks cans increased by 2.3% in volume terms (up to 29.7% from 27.4% in 2013), taking share from PET bottles. All CSD can sizes enjoyed growth over the year, with 50cl cans, led by energy drinks, growing by 14.6% compared to 2013.


Full year results show strong performance for beer and cider can deliveries which reached 4.523bn, up 1.9% on 2013.

According to Nielsen, beer and cider in cans outperformed the overall market. In the lead up to the festive period, the beer and cider category as a whole enjoyed strong sales, driven by a 1.1% decline in the price of lager in the 12 weeks to Christmas, compared with 2013. Particularly strong performance was reported for cider in cans over the year, which increased by 7% compared to 2013, as fruit flavours continued to prove popular with consumers’ developing tastes.

Martin Constable, Chairman of the UK Can Makers comments, “Overall, 2014 has been a positive year. Drinks cans continue to resonate with consumers and brands alike, with increases across the board, helped by warm weather which provided stimulus to the market throughout the summer.”

Adnams Ghost Ship Declared Nation’s Best Independent Beer In A Can At Indie Beer Can Festival

World’s very first competition to find the best beers in cans

Adnams Ghost Ship by Adnams was awarded the title ‘best independent beer in a can’ at the Indie Beer Can Festival last night. Second and third place in the world first competition, sponsored by the Can Makers in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), went to 13 Guns from Thwaites and Breakfast Stout from Arbor Ales respectively.

The winning beer is a citrusy Pale Ale brewed using Citra hops. The judging team praised its luscious notes of tropical fruit, beautifully balanced malts, and sparkling amber appearance.

Emma Hibbert, Marketing Director at Adnams, comments: “We are overjoyed to have been recognised by such a prestigious panel of judges. Ghost Ship has been a real success story for Adnams. Times are good for canned beer, with more and more premium beer brands choosing the format.”

Chiara Nesbitt, one of the five independent judges and Beer Buyer for Tesco, comments: “The competition was very tight but Adnam’s Ghost Ship clearly stood out from the others. We felt this beer had the widest appeal of the finalists and all agreed it was a joy to drink and suited the canned format perfectly. All twelve finalists are great examples of how independent beers look and taste great in cans.”

Coming in second place, 13 Guns was described by the judges as having aromas and flavours of orange and grapefruit, and a more-ish finish. Breakfast Stout, meanwhile, has highly aromatic notes of black coffee and vanilla and was called ‘a real bomb of a beer’.

Graham Fenton, Chairman of the Can Makers, says: “It has been a privilege to sample such a great range of beers and to select our fantastic winner. It’s also been gratifying to see how successfully Indie Beer Can Festival has tapped into the rapidly growing trend for independent beers in cans. Cans are convenient, light, quickly chilled and they look great. In America canned independent beers are the height of cool, it won’t be long before the same can be said in the UK.”

Nick Stafford, SIBA commercial director, adds: “We’d like to extend our congratulations to the deserved winner, Adnams. There are many superb independent beers in the market which pay tribute to the craft, quality and innovation of the industry. We’re pleased to have been involved in this competition, which has generated huge interest in cans and encouraged SIBA members to explore it as another way of bringing their beers to the growing number of craft beer drinkers.”

Launched in April 2014, the Indie Beer Can Festival invited independent brewers in the UK and Eire to submit their beers, regardless of original pack format, for judging in cans. From over 100 entrants 12 were chosen as finalists and those not already in can also won the opportunity to trial in can for the Festival final.

The full judging panel included industry experts Adrian Tierney-Jones and Jane Peyton; Chiara Nesbitt, Beer Buyer for Tesco; President of Cask Brewing Systems Inc, Peter Love; and Graham Fenton, Chairman of the Can Makers. The winners were announced at the Indie Beer Can Festival on September 11th .



UK Drinks Can Market exceeds 4.8bn in strong first half of 2014

  • Beer and cider reaches 2.278bn cans
  • Soft drinks grow to 2.557bn cans

The Can Makers, the industry trade body representing the UK manufacturers of drinks cans, have revealed a record 4.835 billion can deliveries were made in the first half of 2014. This is a 7.1% increase across the UK drinks can markets as the economy rose and the nation enjoyed one of the warmest springs on record and a summer of sport.

Beer and cider can deliveries reached 2.278 billion, representing growth of 8.2% and an increase of over 170m units.

According to Nielsen, beer and cider sales in cans grew by 9% in the six months to June. This was faster growth than the category as a whole, as the UK basked in good weather and felt the positive impact from the World Cup. Led by the continued success of fruit flavours, cider in cans performed particularly well, increasing by 17% compared to 2013. Cans of lager also showed strong comparative growth with an increase of 9%.

Led by the continued success of fruit flavours, cider in cans performed particularly well, increasing by 17% compared to 2013. Cans of lager also showed strong comparative growth with an increase of 9%.

Soft drink can deliveries increased to 2.557bn, up 6.0% and 145m units compared to the same period last year. The latest Nielsen sales data shows that carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) in cans grew by 4.9% in the first half of 2014, ahead of the CSD market. All can sizes enjoyed growth, led by energy drinks, where large cans are up by 23.1%, on top of the 18% over the same period last year.

Graham Fenton, Chairman of the UK Can Makers comments, “The UK beverage can market continues to perform well, with higher growth in the first half of 2014 than any similar period in the past decade. This is no doubt boosted by the UK’s economic growth, good weather, sporting interest and increased marketing support around events like the World Cup.”

Indie Beer Can Festival launches for independent British brewers

Can Makers and SIBA launch competition to find the nation’s best independent beer – in a can

Indie Beer Can Festival, the first UK-wide search for the very best independent beer in cans has been launched by the Can Makers in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Every independent brewer’s beer, regardless of current pack format, is being offered the chance to be showcased in cans at the Indie Beer Can Festival final and potentially be crowned the winner. The competition opens today via

Selected judges will decide the 12 Festival finalists based on written entries. Then each of those not already in cans will receive an exclusive limited production run provided by the Can Makers. In September, at a closed session, influential judges including Chiara Nesbitt, Beer Buyer for Tesco, industry experts Adrian Tierney-Jones and Jane Peyton, President of Cask Brewing Systems Inc, Peter Love and Graham Fenton, Chairman of the Can Makers, will put each of the 12 to the test. The winners will be revealed later in the day at the Indie Beer Can Festival. One beer will take the gold and two runners up silver and bronze, with all winners receiving trophies and e-badges.

Every finalist will have the opportunity to have their beers sampled by influential guests at the Indie Beer Can Festival. The remaining cans will be delivered back to breweries after the event alongside a finalist’s e-badge. This will be a great way to let everyone know the beer is one of the 12 best independent canned beers in the country.

Chiara Nesbitt, Beer Buyer for Tesco and judge, comments, “I’m a huge fan of independently brewed beer. There has been a massive increase in the variety of independent beers on our shelves as customers tastes evolve and they look to discover new styles. Cans are a great way to achieve stand out on shelf and keep drinks tasting fresh. In my line of work I’ve seen a lot of canned speciality beers from the US and I look forward to seeing this happen in the UK too.”

Adrian Tierney-Jones, award winning writer and journalist said, “This competition is exciting and very timely, so I’m looking forward to the judging. Nowadays cans are a great way to package good beers. On top of the benefits cans provide by being very portable, light and quick to chill, the whole of the can provides a great canvas for brewers to play with and communicate their brand messages on. Cans are cool.”

Nick Stafford, Commercial Director at SIBA says, “The Indie Beer Can Festival is a fantastic opportunity for independent brewers to showcase their beers to influencers in the business and gain recognition. Quite a few are already in cans and there are many more brewers keen to explore the potential for canning beer. This competition ensures that any independently brewed beer has a chance to win and we look forward to seeing how it unfolds and, of course, to the final event.”

Graham Fenton, Chairman of the Can Makers, comments “Independent beer is an increasingly important part of the drinks market. I’m delighted that we’re able to partner with SIBA to offer today’s growing number of brewers a chance to explore the can’s benefits and share the passion they have for beer with a wide audience. I hope that this helps to establish independent beer in cans as a key part of the growing market.”