January 21: Aluminium drinks cans are 50 years old this week. The lightweight two-piece containers were first used commercially by Coors to pack beer on 22 January 1959 at its brewery in Colorado.
It was the result of work through the 1950s by Bill Coors – later to become chairman and president of the family-managed brewer Adolph Coors Co – who wanted a replacement for the tinplate drinks cans he saw being littered around the US.
Coors spurred a market expansion that would result in 100 billion aluminium drinks cans being sold every year in the US, and almost 200 billion worldwide.
The first aluminium cans were small – 7oz – a size that was dictated by available technology, but they were popular in the Denver test market amongst women who thought that aluminium would keep the beer cool longer.