Why, Exactly, Do Craft Beers Come In A Larger Can?

Are you a craft beer person? Do you know the difference between an IPA and a Session ale? Or do you prefer to split a 12-pack of Labatt with friends at the grill? The rise in craft beer's popularity is largely fueled by the under-30s. They like craft beer because they want something unique — microbreweries only produce about 15,000 barrels of beer a year, but in a wide range of flavors to suit every palate, from super-hoppy IPAs, to full-bodied stouts. When you drink a craft beer, you're supporting a much smaller business than companies like Anheuser-Busch. This support is also why younger people are more likely to choose a craft beer — they care a lot about the how and why behind the beer.

If you've wandered the beer aisles in your local supermarket looking for your next mix-and-match 6-pack, you might have noticed the proliferation of larger cans called tallboys. These huge cans hold about 16 ounces of beer. While microbrewers used to bottle their beers to distinguish themselves from your cheap and cheerful Budweiser or Coors Light, bottles have gone the way of the 12-ounce can in favor of the tallboy, per Punch. Brewers started canning beer in tallboys as a signal to consumers that it's a craft beer and therefore desirable, not some cheap, watery beer. And now the tallboy is synonymous with craft beer, forever linked as a symbol of the bearded and be-flanneled hipster, and the industry just can't shake them.

No one said the revolution would be hoppy and served in huge cans

Besides being a Batman signal for craft beer drinkers and a canvas for the amazing art found on some breweries' cans, tallboys are convenient. They're usually consumed right away, which means beer drinkers can try the microbrews without worrying about finishing a 6-pack — a good thing for microbreweries looking to expand their customer base. Tallboys are also ideal for getting craft beer into places where mass-produced beer usually reigns supreme, like sporting events and concerts. Some breweries go even further and sell 19-ounce cans to appeal to event drinkers, where a whole beer lasts a round of golf or half of a football game.

There's also the brewery's bottom line to take into consideration. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans provides more flexibility in terms of the cost of brewing the beer. Sure, the four-pack is more expensive, but craft beer drinkers don't mind paying the higher price, per Punch.

The tallboy does have its downsides, though; a 16-ounce beer takes a long time to drink. The beverages have ideal beer drinking temperatures and by the time you reach the bottom of a tallboy, your once crisp and refreshing IPA might be hitting all the wrong notes. You can find drinkable, lower-ABV beers in tallboys, while enjoying heavier beers in 12-ounce cans may be preferable to crushing a 16-ounce, 8% ABV DDHIPA before it gets too warm and therefore undrinkable.