I can remember years ago, when I was very young - so that's very many years ago - watching TV at home and seeing the likes of Minder with Terry McCann drinking a can of Carlsberg, or perhaps Alf Garnett's idle son-in-law drinking cans of Watney's Brown Ale and wondering about the small cans. To my certain knowledge, in the 1970s, no Scottish brewer produced, for the domestic market anyway, such small cans. We just didn't see them at all. All our cans were 440 ml. Small cans were an odd English aberration, only seen on the small screen and as such we disregarded them. In fact the only English beer I really recall, was pint bottles of Whitbread Pale Ale, which somehow had an almost papal dispensation to be sold in Scotland. They were everywhere and in fact I often drank them myself.
Fast-forward many decades later and the small can was re-invented by the craft beer movement, when some bright spark thought that bottles were no longer the biz. God knows why, they did - I imagine copycatting the Americans - but the chosen size was the small 330 ml can. Now I suppose looking at it from the point of view of the seller, they were different, handy and could be sold at a premium - which I actually reckon was the main point in doing it. This in turn was fairly understandable too. Often the beers were strong and a smaller vessel and higher price could therefore be justified. Also, I believe the kit was more readily available too, so all serene then.
Of course, nothing stands still. The larger can has made a strong re-appearance in the craft beer sector, oddly to some, often at the higher alcohol end of the market. Now that's fair enough too, as some of the stronger stuff is probably best to share or, if not that, to be sipped reverentially, over a couple of hours by a single drinker. So far, so good.
Now where this scene throws up an issue to my mind, is when you have what I'd call a "supping" beer - others more likely to call a session beer, is sent out in small cans. I know it happens with all types of beer, but when it happens in the standard to premium lager sector, it just doesn't seem right. I wrote here about how impressed I am with Camden Hells. On my recent self-isolation, we had a little shopping done for us by a relative. Now in the circumstances of being done a favour, it doesn't seem right to be too picky, so my request for Camden Hells was completed, not as I'd hoped by 660ml bottles, but a four-pack of 330ml cans. Now I haven't been able to compare costs, but it isn't that which bothered me - though it would be an interesting comparison - but the fact that once you have poured the beer into a glass and taken the first swig, you find it has almost gone. Put simply, it isn't big enough.
So is it just me? It seems not. I asked the Twitterati and they seem to agree. Here's what they said:
Camden Hells in 330ml cans.— Tandleman (@tandleman) October 18, 2020
Well that's all I have to say really. So how about it Camden? Can we have bigger cans of Hells please? It's what the punters want.
Do keep up the 660 ml bottles. They are fab. Also am I wrong in thinking Cloudwater led the charge for bigger cans?
I also hope to see more Camden Hells on tap up North. As long as the quality stays as it is at the moment, that would be a good thing.