Beverage companies have long had to decide: bottles or cans? Now President Donald Trump is bringing fresh urgency to the question.
With the threat of US tariffs potentially boosting the cost of aluminium, the glass industry sees an opportunity to win more converts.
Lynn Bragg, who runs a bottling trade group, notes that the glass used to make bottles is largely from domestic sources. And it’s infinitely recyclable. In other words, Go #TeamGlass.
“We’re here to help,” said Bragg, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, which represents glass container manufacturing companies. There are 45 plants in 22 states.
Of course, even if tariffs increase the cost of aluminium, cans have considerable advantages over the clear stuff. They’re much lighter and don’t shatter. The durability helps make them easier to transport, in addition to preventing drunken mishaps.
That’s why aluminium containers have been on the rise in recent years. The total unit volume of metal cans sold in the US rose 1.4% between 2011 and 2016, while glass bottles fell 1.4%, according to data from Euromonitor International.
In addition to using aluminum for cans, the largest beer sellers have been swapping glass for metal formed into the classic bottle shape.
Then there’s the psychological angle: glass bottles definitely have a classier vibe. But for some Americans - tariff or no tariff - nothing beats drinking cheap domestic beer out of a can.