You walk into a shop, you see your favourite cider in a bottle and in a can? Which should you buy? I want to look at 2 aspects:
1. What is more environmentally friendly a Can vs Bottle? 2. Which tastes better Can vs Bottle?
Firstly let’s look at the environmental factor. This is a tough one with lots of conflicting evidence, so let me present some evidence. When an Aluminium (or aluminum for those who speak ‘Merican) is dug out of the ground the process has an incredibly bad carbon foot print. The upside of this is, that once you have your’ can made it can be recycled for a relatively low energy input. The material doesn’t degrade so it goes through the process over and over again.
Glass, on the other hand, isn’t as hard to make the first time around. It can be recycled by being melted down and reformed or in some cases washed and refilled. But melting it down and reforming it into a new bottle is using more energy that the same process with aluminium. In Australia many bottles are recycling but not into new bottles. In fact, they are ground down to be used as an aggregate when surfacing roads. Glass bottles also need a label. Paper labels need a lot of water to be made and then washed off during recycling.
Once the cider is in its vessel then it needs to go on a truck to your local shop. The shape and weight of a can means that more units can be packed onto the truck. That equates to less diesel per litre of cider moved.
So it seems cans are the winner as long as it’s recycled aluminium and you make sure you drop it in the recycling bin after you have enjoyed it. But will you enjoy the taste?
Flavours can break down if exposed to UV light so you will often see beer and ciders in dark brown or green bottles. Cans get another win here, as no light can get in. Temperature fluctuations can also ruin a good drink. Glass just out wins here as it provides a little more insulation.
While I was editing the video I kept drinking the Batlow Ciders. I noticed that the canned cider showed a few more metallic elements as it warmed up. The bottle didn’t warm as fast and the inherit glass didn’t flavour the cider in any way. The can kept more fizz in the can with its superior seal
So to wrap up Can vs Bottle. If you want a low carbon foot print drink, Ciders are much better than beer using less water and energy to make. If it’s recycled aluminium the can wins. So if you want a really low carbon foot print beverage walk to your local pub and ask for the local cider on draught. Kegs are, by design, reusable and transport the most cider for the least shipping energy. As for taste, the bottle is the winner for me. Being inherit and insulated you get the cold cider as the maker intended.
What do you prefer? Leave a comment below.
October 26, 2016
Interesting writeup! I liked the environmental info. Very few ciders here in the U.S. are available in both bottles and cans (they are mostly very commercial ciders like Angry Orchard and Smith & Forge), so I haven’t really done any side by side comparisons. In general there are few canned ciders I’ve really enjoyed, but I imagine its moreso because the canned ciders aren’t a style I prefer, and most ciders are sold in bottles than cans. Poured into a glass I’d hope the taste difference is pretty minimal. I heard some companies use better liners in their cans, so that may impact any metallic flavor imparted on the cider.
October 26, 2016
I could find much information on BPA and Non-BPA linings on cans. I worry that the liners are designed for beer and might not stand up well to the high acid ciders. Batlow is also a rare beast that cans and bottles. I rarely see their can however.
December 10, 2021
Cider cans are lined with BPA due to the higher acidity vs beer.
– 7 year employee of a large craft cider company