Friday, October 7, 2011

Cone Top Beer Cans - Sort Of

The interest in beer cans instead of bottles predates prohibition, but the challenge for manufacturers was finding affordable materials that could withstand the pressure of carbonated beer, not to mention concerns that the metal would negatively effect the flavor of the beer.

Ceramic 'cone top' beer can.

In 1933 the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. of New Jersey took the risk of packaging their beer in cans referred to as 'flat tops'. Beer in cans soon became quite popular and by 1935 Krueger was buying 180,000 cans a day from the American Can Co. At this time, Schlitz Brewing got on board with the canning craze and introduced its lager beer in cans but instead of the the 'flat top' they chose to use the unusual 'cone top' cans made by Continental Can Co.

Ceramics before painting and glaze.

By the mid 50's it became clear that the 'flat top' style of can would beat out the 'cone tops' for market share mainly because they could be filled easier and stack more economically in the store shelves and the consumers refrigerators.

Where does this all lead to here at Beer Diary...? Well, friend and ceramic artist Liz Crain has created a series of amazing replicas of the 'cone top' beer cans from that era.

Liz has been producing a variety of  stunning faux metal ceramic cans recently. The type of old rusty cans you find in your grandfathers shed out back or in his musty basement. Old oil and kerosene cans or dented linseed oil and turpentine containers. Those cool metal cans that lived during the 50's before plastic took over and left us feeling wistful for our history with steel.

Liz's take on the cone top cans is at once authentic and nostalgic and nuanced with her creative influence that moves beyond the literal. Incredible realism considering all the pieces are solely made from ceramics but artistic in the subtleties of the shapes and glaze finish. How she manages to get them to look like metal is one thing but to look like rusted metal is quite another.

Faux can on left next to the real thing.

All of her work in incredible but I particularly enjoy the beer cans for some inexplicable reason.

If you happen to be in the Santa Cruz area this weekend and next, Liz will be participating in the Open Studios tour exhibiting and selling her work and she is not to be missed. Go here for a link to her site and here for a link to the Santa Cruz Open Studios tour site.

Tell her you heard about her beautiful artwork here.


Jan said...

Love it! she's circled on my map for studio touring this weekend! Thanks..

. said...

Yeah, her ceramics are great and the prices are very reasonable.

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