Craft beer is upping the ante on volume and introducing resized cans that truly deserve to be called “Tall Boys” and you can thank your local 7-Eleven for that.
Here’s the deal…
The Tall Boy can has been packaging fixture in the beer biz for decades but until recently it’s been largely shunned by the same craft beer industry that initially wrote off cans as too “Big Beer.”
And it’s really convenience stores like 7-Eleven, which sell single beers in mega-cans. that are the reason that breweries like Anchor are now offering their beers in bigger format 19.2oz cans.
So yes, craft beer recent entrance into Tall Boy packaging is about competing, with global brewers who have been reaping the economic benefits of this kind of packaging for, well, forever.
But the history of the Tall Boys is as sketchy as the packaging’s exact volume.
The first major brewer to introduce beer in 12oz cans was Pabst in 1935 and oversized cans reportedly starting showing up later that year.
32oz quart cans debuted in 1936 and disappeared (much like the growler concept is fading today) after a short run.
According to On Milwaukee “the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company was among the first of the major brewers to use bigger cans, introducing the a half-quart can in 1956 and, four years later, putting the well-known original “Tall Boy” on the market, a 24-ounce can.”
And the current Tall Boy designation is as amorphous as the amount of beer they can hold…Back in the day, a 16oz might even have be considered a Tall Boy by some. But with the advent of even taller cans they reverted to what they are today, simply called 16oz cans or more rarely “pounders.”
Craft beer’s Tall Boys are more the sleek 19.2oz stove pipe size. And as The Manuel explains they live more in the ‘crafty’ realm of Guinness’ “Imperial Pints” than they do the more traditional, and heftier, 24oz cans.
But they do offer considerably more beer than the standard 12oz cans, and are an almost a 4oz improvement on the “pounder,” so what’s not to like?
And here are some breweries turning to this enlarged packaging…and some craft beer Tall Boys we think worth chasing down…