Multifaceted Can Formats in the Northeast Craft Beer Industry

June 23rd, 2023 • by Chris Oppito
Chris Oppito

Chris Oppito

Chris Oppito is the Beverage Program Manager at Lindenmeyr Munroe, a 5th generation family-owned distribution company and a leading name in the paper and packaging industry for over 150 years. Chris is the driving force behind the company's beverage program, which he initiated and has grown to service over 1,000 Breweries and many more within the beverage industry.

Chris is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of the beverage program. This includes curating a diverse selection of packaging items for the industry, fostering strong relationships with customers as well suppliers, and ensuring operational and sales staff are well-trained in beverage knowledge and service standards.

As the craft beer industry continues to flourish in the North East, we’re seeing an intriguing evolution – not only in the beers themselves but also in the can formats they’re packaged in. From the O.G. 12-ounce cans to the increasingly embraced 19.2-oz ‘Stovepipes’, and new formats like the 250ml sleek can, the craft beer can landscape is as varied as the brews they hold.

Decoding the Can Format Spectrum

Here’s a snapshot of some can formats within the craft beer industry:

  1. Standard 12-ounce cans: The veteran of beer cans, these have always been a favorite among producers and consumers alike.
  2. Standard 16oz cans (Tallboys) Offering a bit more to the beer aficionado, these cans often host specialty or seasonal brews.
  3. 19.2oz cans(stovepipe): This rising star in the can world is gaining momentum, thanks to its unique size.
  4. Sleek cans (250ml): Slightly taller and narrower than the standard 12-ounce but compatible with a 202dia End, these cans offer a modern twist and are gaining popularity in the market, particularly for non-beer beverages and craft cocktails.
  5. Sleek cans (12 ounces, but taller and narrower): Often used for light beers and lagers, these cans offer a distinctive look.
  6. Slim cans (250ml): a more narrow can compatible with a 200dia End, these cans are most commonly used for energy drinks and wine.
  7. Crowlers (32-ounce cans): These big boys are filled and sealed at the brewery, offering the freshest draft beer experience right in your home.
  8. Widget cans: These innovative cans contain a small device that recreates the draft beer experience by creating a foam head when opened1.

Dominant Can Formats in the Craft Beer Industry

The Brewers Association reports that the most common can sizes in the North East are the Standard 12-oz, 16-oz, and 19.2-oz2. These formats balance an appealing volume-to-cost ratio, which, according to the association’s data, has led to these three can sizes accounting for approximately 70% of all craft beer can sales in the region in 2022.

The Rising Trend of 19.2-oz Cans

The 19.2-ounce Stovepipe is seeing a surge in popularity, particularly in event venues. This format, large enough to last through a long concert or sports event, is becoming a fan favorite at stadiums and music festivals3. A 2022 Brewbound report showed a significant 30% year-over-year increase in Stovepipe can sales at such venues 3 4

The Role of Sleek 250ml Cans

The sleek 250ml can is another format that’s carving out a niche. Although relatively new and less common in the beer industry, it’s found success in the burgeoning market for ready-to-drink cocktails and lower-alcohol, lower-calorie beverages. Its compact size makes it ideal for single servings and sample packs, and it appeals to consumers seeking moderate alcohol consumption5.

Retailer Decision-Making on Can Formats

Retailers are key determinants of which cans find their way onto store shelves. They base their decisions on:

  1. Consumer Preferences: Ultimately, the tastes and preferences of their customers guide retailers.
  2. Shelf Space: The size and shape of cans matter, as retailers aim to maximize their shelf space.
  3. Price Point: Retailers need to strike a balance between cost and perceived value of different can sizes.
  4. Brand and Beer Style: Certain can formats are better suited to certain brands or beer styles6.

Making the Most of Stovepipe and Sleek Can Trends

Breweries looking to leverage the rising popularity of the 19.2oz and the 250ml sleek can formats should consider launching special releases, engaging in targeted marketing, and educating consumers about the unique benefits of these sizes7.

In conclusion, the diverse world of craft beer can formats presents an of opportunities for those involved in the beer industry look to differentiate themselves. Its also important to understand market sentiment and perception around different formats.  By staying informed about these trends – breweries, distributors, and retailers can meet the evolving demands of consumers and maintain a competitive edge.


  1. “The Science Behind Widget Cans.” Popsci.
  2. “Packaging Trends in Craft Beer.” Brewers Association.
  3. “19.2oz Cans a Big Hit at Stadiums, Music Festivals.” Brewbound. ↩2
  4. “19.oz Cans Surge at Convienience Stores.”
  5. “The Rise of the Sleek Can in Craft Beverages.” Beverage Industry.
  6. “How Retailers Choose Which Beers to Carry.” Brewbound.
  7. “Capitalizing on Craft Beer Trends: A Guide for Breweries.” Craft Brewing Business.