Cans vs Bottles

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Consumers are used to buying sodas and mass-produced beers in cans, but in recent years traditionally pricier craft beverages have started to show up on store shelves in cans as well. Cold-brew coffee showed up first, followed by ready-made coffee drinks. Now wine and cocktails have joined the canned beverage bandwagon. In Portland, the Blue Lobster Wine Co. at 219 Anderson St. started selling wine in cans last year – a chardonnay, a rosé and a red blend called Bayside Blend, priced at $5.99 for a 375 ml can, or half a bottle – and released its first canned sweet wine, a Moscato, a couple of weeks ago. Next will be a pinot noir and a blueberry-infused wine.

Beverage companies that are transitioning from glass bottles to cans say consumers often raise their eyebrows at the idea of drinking a high-end beverage from a can because they’re worried the can will confer a tinny taste to the product – no longer a problem now that cans come with improved liners. Or they look down their noses at cans the same way they do screw-top wine bottles or wine-in-a-box.

“Occasionally we see people who are skeptical, but once they try the wines they seem to get on board,” said Chris Gamble, owner of Blue Lobster. “And certainly, the younger crowd gets it immediately. They seem to think it’s smart and practical – not so hung up on traditional packaging.”

Christopher McGee