Beware of Beer In Cans
by J.L. Capuana
I know all the arguments that say beer in cans is as good or better
than beer in bottles. It's hard to disagree that a can is the best at
keeping light out that would skunk a beer. It's also hard to deny that
cans chill faster, don't break, and are easier to carry and stack than
bottles. However, despite strongly voiced claims to the contrary, it
seems a backlash against cans is building based on health concerns.
Now before you brand me as a crazy alarmist who won't accept the
evolution of the can to today's fully lined and totally safe vessel think
about what some craft brewers are now saying. And yes, I
understand that much has been written about the debate over the
years and that even in 2014, there still may not be a right answer.
However why did Lagunitas Brewing owner, Tony Magee, say that the
company would be the last U.S. brewery to use aluminum cans? The
answer is likely found in a Facebook post from the Nimbus Brewer
which just about mirrors my concerns.
People are always asking us… “When are you going to put your beer
in cans?” Tthe answer I most often cite is: most canned foods and
drink cause me concern because of what the can is lined with. The
fact is, the lining of almost all canned foods and drinks are made with a
chemical called bisphenol-A, or BPA.
We have long held the position to keep Nimbus Beer in bottles and not
to follow the recent trend of some craft breweries. Those that have
made the switch to cans or have always marketed their beer in cans
act as if they are on the cutting edge of “something big” simply by
their putting the fine products they produce into cans and then selling
their product to the public without doing the research as to why selling
their beer in cans is not such a great idea.
Our feelings on the subject were solidified due to a recent study in the
May 2013 edition of the National Academy of Sciences. In that article
it documented the conclusion of a long term study of bisphenol-A or
BPAs, just how seriously dangerous the chemical, bisphenol-A, or BPA
BPA, when ingested from foods and beverages in canned containers
might/can actually affect the way genes work all the way down to the
DNA level of the genes inside the brain of rats. Even the FDA agrees
that there is a problem with BPA as it is supporting efforts to either
replace or, at the very least, to minimize the amounts of this chemical
found in most all canned foods and beverages."
Getting scary, don't you think, Bob? Now it gets worse for people like
me who particularly love the west coast styles of beer. These beers
are typically more aggressively “hopped” as are many IPAs, which for
the last five years has been the largest selling craft style in the USA.
The study points out that the more bitter the beer, the higher the
likelihood that dangerous chemicals in the can's lining will leak out.
The reason is that ,all of the ingredients in beer, (yeast, hops and malt)
as well as soft drinks, are very acidic.
It is these very acids that cause BPAs to leech from the lining of the
can that are sold to an unsuspecting public believing that drinking beer
from a can is safe; but, these same BPAs are going right into your
body every time you drink from a can! The actual level of BPAs in
these types of beers have the potential to be so high that, in fact, you
should seriously consider not ever consuming any canned beer (or
canned foods for that matter) at any time due to the risk of ingesting
Current FDA laws, combined with strong lobbying in Washington D.C.
by the chemical companies that make BPAs and the manufacturer’s of
the cans themselves, is the reason that there are no standards for
labeling of BPAs in canned products. Please note then, that because a
can does not mention BPAs does not mean that the it does not
I'd rather be safe than sorry. When I buy beer it's always in brown
bottles. Maybe I'm overacting or paranoid but it can't hurt to err on
the side of caution.
Well Bob, I hope you print my article. It's admittedly out of the
mainstream but your readers still might find it interesting.
First,, thanks for sending in your article. It is most interesting and
provocative. I would like to point out that the Food and Drug
Administration permits BPA in food and beverage packaging without
warning, and the chemical can be found in air, dust, water, medical
devices, dental sealants, CDs, and more. As levels from sources like
these and cans, the government seems to be saying there's not enough
danger to wave a red flag. Still, you've got me thinking about it.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer just as J.L. did. I'll select the best and publish them here.
So join in and get writing!
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