Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beer Minute: NJ says 'can't' to new Sly Fox can

Here's another way New Jersey plays stick in the mud when it comes to craft beer, and it's a bit ironic, too, given that the Garden State takes credit for introducing canned beer in the first place.

The new Sly Fox cans with the lift-off lid aren't allowed in the Garden State. 

Yep, the ones the Pennsylvania brewer introduced in April as the "360 lid." Sly Fox's canned beers are still widely available here in New Jersey, just not in that attractive innovation that turns the can into more of a cup.

Getting blocked at the Delaware River goes back to a 1970s litter law that prohibits any detachable metal from the can. The law was a response to the pull-tabs introduced in the early/mid-1960s that consigned church keys to the collectibles bin. The pull-tabs were replaced in the mid-1970s by the stay-tabs everyone is familiar with now (pull tabs, by the way, are still in use in China).

Tim Ohst, Sly Fox's brewery operations manager, says the ban is disappointing, for a few reasons: The 360 lid is 100 percent recyclable (it, like the can, is aluminum); the lid passed safety tests for sharpness; it requires less metal to make the lid than a bottle cap, which is metal that detaches from a beverage container; the lid is no more of a potential litter menace than that metal bottle cap or a plastic cap from a bottle of Poland Springs. 

By the way, New Jersey, where canned beer became a new frontier for U.S. consumers nearly 80 years ago in Newark a la Gottfried Krueger Creme Ale and Krueger's Finest Beer, isn't alone with the buzz kill. New York state has a similar law.
Troegs has released its stripped-down version of Mad Elf again. The Pennsylvania brewer announced Naked Elf's return on its website on Wednesday. You won't taste the chocolate malt, cherries and honey that are some of the hallmarks of Mad Elf in this 7.8% ABV brew that's among the brewery's Scratch Beers, because, well, it's naked compared with that 11% holiday seasonal. Still, the folks at Troegs describe the stripped-down version as an "unfiltered golden beauty that displays a pronounced yeast flavor that made the Mad Elf famous." That's a dressed-up way of noting Naked Elf's munich and pilsner malts and Belgian yeast. The hops are cinnamon spice-like Czech Saaz and earthy German Northern Brewer. Naked Elf is available in draft and six-packs at the brewery.

Here's one that probably mostly interests the light beer-drinking crowd: Brewers can now add nutritional information, such as calories and carbohydrates per serving, to their beer labels. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the folks who will have the final say over brewers' labels, issued a ruling Tuesday green-lighting "serving facts" statements. Such information also includes the number of servings per container, plus fat and protein content, which given that it's an alcoholic beverage, that zero-fat content can become fat on you after you drink it, depending upon your metabolism. The ruling is essentially a modification of a position the bureau took nine years ago with regard to liquors, wines and malt beverages. The bureau's rather densely worded ruling can be read by following the link off the press release found here. Singing the Miller 64 song from the commercial will probably be considered a violation among your craft beer friends.
– The Beer Minute is a quick-read round-up of notable events or news about breweries from elsewhere that distribute in New Jersey.


Boo-Urns said...

Hmmmm, I'm sitting in NJ and I just pulled the top completely off of my aluminum can of Spaghetti-Os. I guess that doesn't count?

Jeff Linkous said...

You would think so. Ditto for cat food and tuna, and soup, and beans and ... well, you get the picture. Hopefully, the Legislature will, too.

Jeff Linkous said...

This situation shouldn't be construed as Sly Fox being caught off guard or something. More like, New Jersey has a law that probably should be rethought, given that the supermarket aisles are loaded with products that fall under this restriction applied to the beverage industry.

JessKidden said...

Boston Beer Co.'s Jim Koch considered a similar lid for his new cans for Samuel Adams beers - even tho' his cans are manufactured by Ball, not Crown as is the case for Sly Fox.

He rejected the idea, in part, because (according to a Boston Globe article - Sam Adams: Now (finally) in a can - dated 2/16/13):

"...the tear-off top violated litter laws in most states."

He also states the lid did not do well in their consumer trials.

(Not sure if link will work:)