New Holland Brew

Can Vs. Bottle – Is There Really A Difference?

There will always be this question… can vs. bottle, can you really tell the difference? I just receives a package gift from our friend at New Holland Brewing. The content of the package were two very popular beers, Dragon’s Milk (bourbon aged) and Ichabod (pumpkin ale).  I was very surprised that both of the beers were in cans, since previous gift of Dragon’s Milk were sent to me in bottles. Which made think, can you really tell the difference?

To answer this, I did a little bit of research. in 2016, a study in the journal Beverages aimed to answer this question. 151 people participated in this study. They were serve the same beer from same brewery during a BLIND TEST. As it turns out, when participants had no knowledge about the beers or where they came from,  showed no preferences for bottled or canned beer. 45% of participants rated the canned beer better than the bottled, 41% of participants rated the bottled beer better than the canned, and close to 1.5% said they both tasted the same.

So how they came up to this conclusion? Two main test were performed…

  1.  A questionnaire aimed to determine preferences for drinking beer out of bottles or cans
  2.  A blind taste test.

You already know the result of the blind test from the paragraph above but let’s take a quick look at the questionnaire results.

*This study took place in the UK, with the main taste test study taking place just before the Edinburgh Science Festival in Scotland.


In the TASTE TEST and after tasting the beer, the 151 participants completed a questionnaire. For this questionnaire the participants were aware which method the beers were packaged, in bottles or cans. 61.29% of participants preferred beer from a bottle, while only 11.29% preferred beer from a can and 27.42% thought they both tasted the same. This suggested that knowing how the beers are packaged, bottle or can, had a big impact in the result.  It seems that beer drinkers have a preconceived preferences for beer packaging types.

It is possible that seeing the packaging could influence the outcome, this is why a blind test needed to be performed. performed a few round of testing and had this to say.

Round 2: Taste

Can you taste the difference between beer in cans and bottles?

Many people believe that drinking out of an aluminum can will leave your craft beer tasting like metal, but did you know that there is a lining in every beer can that prevents the beer and aluminum from coming into contact? Manufacturers have been lining cans since 1935. If you truly believe that you’re tasting a metallic flavour, try pouring your beer into a glass and try again. Most of the time, that metallic “flavour” you’re sensing is instead the scent of the beer can. While beer bottles won’t make your beer taste like metallic, neither will cans. If your beer still tastes metallic, it might be for one of these reasons.

Round 2 Winner: Tie!

*Since I’m on a quest to find out about taste, I only posted Round 2: Taste. Check out to read the rest of their results.

My conclusion is that knowledge is power and when that power is taken away, the preference for bottled over canned beer disappears. So, it is possible that your preference for bottled beer over canned is likely all in your head.