The Birth Of The Beer Can

It happened 77 years ago this week:

Beer-canIt wasn’t until 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 73rd Congress  passed a series of laws repealing the Volstead Act, that American Can again took up the cause of canned beer. Working at a rapid pace, its engineers solved the exploding-can problem that September, producing the world’s first beer can. In addition to traditional tin, they reinforced the can with steel, which proved able to hold up to beer’s pressure. Drinkers opened the can with a "church-key" opener, a slice of metal with a sharp bill to punch a hole in the can’s flat top. But with this innovation arose more problems. Designers had to find a way to combat the fact that beer packaged in metal began to taste metallic or tinny. To counteract this, American Can inventors slathered the inside of the cans with brewer’s pitch, made from pine tar. The pitch insulated the can walls from the beer just like the inside of a keg; thus, their cans came to be known as "keglined."

(Photo: Andre the Giant holding a 12 oz beer can)