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Beer in cans? The very idea used to induce self-satisfied chuckles among beer snobs. How things have changed. The prime mover in the shift was Oskar Blues in Longmont, Colorado, which released Dale’s Pale Ale in cans back in 2002, followed by four other brews…and yet another, Gubna, due out in March.  Their success launched a series of breweries, including several in Colorado, to get in the canning game. Joining them later this spring will be Boulder’s Avery Brewing Company.

From the Denver food blog Westword:

The company, which is still testing the new canning line, hopes to have its Ellie’s Brown Ale, White Rascal, India Pale Ale and a fourth beer — a new brew that Avery will reveal later this year — in cans and on Colorado liquor store shelves by May 1. (The beers will still primarily be available in bottles.)

“I’ve wanted to be in cans for a few years,” says Avery president Adam Avery. “I grew up drinking up canned beer. Beer was in a can. Bottles were high falutin’.”

The problem was that Avery spent a lot of money on a new bottling line in 2006, so the company wanted to wait until it had enough space to invest in cans, he explains. Now that it does, Avery thinks the investment will pay off.

Canned beers have certainly earned their place (Oskar Blues’ Ten Fiddy has become a frequent resident in our refrigerator), but they still make up a fraction of the overall craft beer market. Although no official figures are kept, the Brewer’s Association estimates that a mere one percent of domestic micro brews are canned. But Avery’s move is almost sure to cause others to consider following suit.