Will Sam Adams taste the same in a 'Sam Can'?

Its famed Boston Lager will be available in a newfangled can this summer, marking the latest craft beer to expand beyond glass bottles.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 25, 2013 2:46PM

Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston, Mass. (© Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Image)After a multimillion dollar investment, Boston Beer Co. (SAM) says it has cracked the problem of canned beer: a tinny taste that can't compare with a glass bottle. The brewer will introduce its Sam Adams Boston Lager in a "Sam Can" this summer.

The question is whether fans will agree with founder Jim Koch's assertion that he's found a way to deliver "a slight but noticeably better drinking experience than the standard beer can." 

Sam Adams isn't just any brewer making a foray into the world of cans. Introduced in the mid-1980s, its Boston Lager was one of the country's first microbrewed beers, gaining fans around Boston before expanding across the country. It's now the country's largest-selling craft beer, according to Boston Beer. 

The can-versus-bottle debate has waged for years, with can supporters saying they're lighter and that they even provide a better taste. Glass bottle proponents disagree on the taste issue and point out that glass is better for the environment, since it's made from silica, an easier-to-find material than aluminum's bauxite.

While aficionado often snub canned beer as holding lower-quality brews, Sam Adams is promising its new packaging won't deliver a typical canned experience. 

Koch and other brewers at the company worked with can maker Ball (BLL), a design team at IDEO and a "sensory expert" at GEI Consultants. That expert, Roy Desrochers, has worked for three decades with the brewing industry. 

"The flared lip and wider top of the new Sam Can work in concert to deliver the beer in a way that makes the flavor closer to drinking out of a glass," Desrochers said, according to MediaPost.

The investment means the "Sam Can" will cost more to produce than the standard can, although there's no word on whether that will translate into higher costs for drinkers. 

Canning craft beer started in 2002, when Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery exclusively packaged its beer in cans. 

Since then, more than 250 craft brewers have jumped on board, according to CraftCans.com. The site advises drinkers to pour the brew into a glass, rather than sipping directly from the can, to avoid an aluminum taste. 

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Feb 25, 2013 3:39PM
I have an easy solution: Pour your beer in a glass! Even if the "improved can" is somehow better, my beer will still be poured into a pint glass, just like I would with a bottle or normal can.
Feb 25, 2013 4:07PM
Will the Sam Can have a wider bottom so it doesn't get knocked over on the night stand?
Feb 25, 2013 5:24PM
Good idea, they don't allow bottles on the river.
Feb 25, 2013 4:19PM
Sounds good to me.. canned beer doesn't get affected by sunlight and is fresher.. Kegs are just giant cans! Hope its not at a premium tho 
Feb 25, 2013 3:49PM
Seems like a great idea, I'll certainly be trying it :)
Feb 25, 2013 6:46PM

I love Samuel Adams especially the Imperial Ale. it's the closet thing to import McEwans that isn't imported to US anymore! but i pour my

bottle into a beer glass anyway when i can. I would buy Sam Adams in cans to take to the beach then i wouldn't have to pour my

bottle beer into a plastic cup anymore since they don't allow bottles on beach! stupid law! DON'T DRINK BUD OR MILLER! HORSE PISS!

Feb 25, 2013 5:33PM
Give the beer away for free and no one will care how it's packaged.
Feb 25, 2013 4:31PM
Huge supporter of the beer revolution but I feel part of the allure of drinking craft beer is pouring it out of the bottle into your desired glass.  I have a feeling this might be just a waste of money.  Hope it works out for them but I won't be buying Sam Cans.
Apr 29, 2013 6:26PM
Great now we can have Sam Adams at venues that  don't allow bottles. Great and looking forward to it.
Feb 25, 2013 4:45PM
Unless I'm on the beach or camping out, I refuse to drink beer out of a can, yuck.  Hey Sam Adams, if works, don't fix it.
Feb 25, 2013 7:26PM
Hey Sam, give Makers Mark a call and see how screwing around with the product worked out for them. 
Feb 25, 2013 9:09PM
I just love it when they don`t have a picture.
Feb 26, 2013 12:34AM
The taste test will tell. Pour each one into a red solo cup and see if you can taste the difference.
Feb 25, 2013 5:17PM
Sorry Jim, but I haven't found a can that I like better than glass. How would you like going to a night club and having a nice cold Sam Adams Boston Lager poured into an aluminum mug for your drinking pleasure?   Forget it!!  Stick with what works.
Feb 25, 2013 4:57PM
Jim Koch has gotten too big for his britches. At over $9.00 a six pack his swill isn't worth the money. I guess that's what happens when you go national and get greedy. Forgot your roots, Jim?
Feb 25, 2013 3:32PM
Don't like it a bottle!  Sooooo probably wont like it in a can!   sorry
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