It seems more and more craft beer brewers are switching from glass to aluminum cans and increasingly, aluminum bottles.
A recent article in the St Petersburg Times noted the trend towards aluminum cans, which have been associated with cheaper, mass market brews.
Personally, I think the better way for craft brewers to distinguish themselves from cheap, everyday brews is to use well-designed aluminum bottles and not cans. Do a search on ‘best beers of the world’ and the vast majority of them are in glass bottles, such as the New Glarus Two Women lager in the picture, which was judged best pale lager in the world by RateBeer Best.
The Glarus lager is packaged in a dark amber bottle, to shield it from sunlight. It has the nice neck that most people associate top European brews with.
As some innovative brewers have shown, this look can be duplicated using aluminum bottles. The light-shielding properties of aluminum are clearly superior to glass. And certainly, the look of amber bottles such as the New Glarus bottle can be easily copied using aluminum bottles because of their superior decorating capabilities.
I need not mention the fact that aluminum bottles are more environmentally friendly from a total life cycle perspective.
As more brewers, and other beverage producers start adopting aluminum bottles, I expect more of the craft brewers to go the same way.