Ever had really delicious wine in a can? Well thanks to these alcohol pioneers now you can. Switching from glass to cans is good for your drinks and even better for the planet. Tom Banham looks into the trend to explore why wine-makers, craft brewers and kombucha producers are making the move to aluminium.
We Are The Uncommon has made the first English wine in a can
Cans v bottles?
The eco-friendly drinker should, by now, be aware that plastic bottles are A Bad Thing, but if you’ve been seeking out glass-bound beverages instead, we’re sorry to tell you that they’re not quite as green as they seem. “Glass is not as widely recycled as people think,” says Farmdrop drinks buyer, Dan Whine. “It’s also heavier than aluminium and harder to pack.”
Cans are far better for the planet. They require around 20% less fuel to transport and tend to contain about three times as much recycled material as glass, partly because they’re recycled at around double the rate.
The prevalence of glass is partly because people assume glass is more premium, even though the drinks inside taste exactly the same. However, it’s also because canning requires specialist machinery. For years, that meant smaller producers were stuck with glass. “But there’s a lot of up-and-coming companies that can come to your site and provide a canning service,” says Whine.
Canned craft cocktails, beer and kombucha too…
At Farmdrop, we’re helping to connect producers with canners to encourage the brands we work with to think greener. “Making it cheap and easy is something we’re really interested in.”
Among those making the change is Wild Fizz Kombucha. “We’re working day and night to try and lower our environmental impact,” says Gina Geoghegan, the brand’s co-founder. “And cans also mean our kombucha is easy to consume, light to carry and a great grab-and-go option.”
At the boozier end of the spectrum, Crate Brewery is one of a number of brewers embracing aluminium as a more sustainable way to package their drinks. “They’re more widely recycled and they keep the beer fresher for longer,” says head of marketing Isabelle Maratier. Toast Ale is another; the craft beer brand that use fresh, surplus bread that would otherwise go to waste, has recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to make the move.
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Wow! 10 days left on our #crowdfunder and we’re nearly half way to proving to the world that #craftbeer CAN fight #foodwaste. Thank you all so much for your wonderful support, we’re overwhelmed! Momentum is building, but we still knead your help! Keep sharing, posting, tweeting and liking our @crowdfunderuk page and help us spread the word as far and wide as possible. Whether you’re a #baker, #brewer, drinker or #foodwastefighter – your pledges and support are helping take the fight to food waste, all through something as simple as pledging to support cans of planet saving beer. We #RaiseAToast to you 🍻 Team Toast x #bcorp #instafoodwaste #lovefoodhatewaste #sustainableliving #sustainablebankside #socent #plasticwaste #recycle #loverecycling
Drink less, but drink better
Whine also sees cans as chiming with a wider trend for drinking less, but drinking better. Beer in cans is well known but there’s a rise in unexpected tipples, like wine and spirits, which have also made the shift. “A bottle of wine is a lot – there’s five servings in there,” he says. “So people turn away because they think they need to drink the entire thing or it’ll go bad.”
We Are The Uncommon, a British sparkling winemaker, was among the first to realise that serving fizz in cans meant you could have a single glass without needing to drink the rest of the bottle before it went flat. Spirits brands Long Flint Drinks and Chapel Down offer premium, pre-mixed cocktails that mean no more dusty bottles lingering for months at the back of your drinks cupboard.
Farmdrop spearheading the move to canned drinks
Though Whine doesn’t see glass disappearing completely – “In premium wine, for example, there’s an ageing process that happens in the bottle” – he says that whenever something can be in cans, it should be. So much so that he’s working to ensure all Farmdrop partners are glass-free by next year.
“A lot of our producers are small and we champion them, so the ones that don’t have the facility or the cash, we put them in touch with canning lines that can cheaply. For those that don’t have the resources, we’re supporting them.” And supporting the planet at the same time.
Find craft beer and cocktails, kombucha and English wine in a can and more of our expanding range of canned drinks at farmdrop.com.