Raise a can to beer

I’ve just finished the May issue of Cantech International this month has a focus on canned beer and it’s been a real pleasure to explore the topic this month. At first glance the market may not seem to be in the best of health but once you’ve spoken to a few people and dug down a bit there’s some truly amazing innovation and incredibly hard work going on out there.
The innovation has been all over the media recently as I’m sure you’ve seen, Budweiser will, by the time you’re reading this, be selling its new bow-tie can in the United States. Unfortunately, there are no plans to introduce the innovation outside of the North American market, but the new can is certainly one of the most interesting pieces of can shaping to be seen in a long time. In this issue for the first time the business behind the can shaping equipment, Belvac Production Machinery, explains how the technology works, I’d imagine that now one major brewer has introduced a new can shape it won’t be long before we see other soft drink makers and breweries following suit, meaning 2013 could be the start of huge wave of innovation in can shaping.
Canned Food Week took place in the UK in April, showing sales of food in cans is on the up. So it was sad to see the week marked with the announcement of the closure of Crown’s Worcester factory. The site made food cans, but with the company said it was no longer profitble. Let’s hope all the employees find new work quickly once the factory closes later in the summer.
The debate over Bisphenol A (BPA) has been fired up again by the French.  I was in France at the start of last month and the amount of information about products being free of BPA in supermarkets and even in independent stores in the middle of nowhere struck me as to how seriously the French are viewing the issue. So even, as I suspect, there is nothing to worry about over cans using BPA, the developments in France need to be watched closely as the French could, for instance, start to push for a European Union ban once they introduce one in the country in 2015.
Finally, the can is 200 years old this month. Two centuries on and it’s still leading the packaging industry. Here’s to another 200 years!

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