Our regular beer columnist David Holliday of Moon Gazer Ale is back – and shares his views on bottle vs can. 

We live in a world of extreme scrutiny and opinion. As a small producer, you soon learn to accept people will have a range of views and are happy to share them with the world.  

You do your very best. That’s the measure by which you have to judge yourself. However, one recent review was of particular interest to us since a beer blogger had tried one of our beers and wrote a review of a couple of hundred words – so it was measured and considered. 

What struck home, however, when reviewing a can of our Pondhopper Norfolk IPA is that 80% of the review – I kid you not – was on the can design before the first mention of enjoying the beer. 

Now that posed the question; is there a generation of drinkers out there who are driven more by how they feel about the look or nature of the packaging than the beer itself? That has always been the case – it’s called marketing – but maybe the arrival of cans has encouraged these emotional attachments further?

That said, bottle or can – surely, it’s the beer that matters? 

I will save you the full details, but indeed, there is still a body of opinion that bottled beer will always last longer and better. Lock advocates of each style of packaging in a room and they will each come up with a plethora of reasoned and justified defences on why they are right. 

Here at Moon Gazer, we proudly package our beer in cans as well as bottles. It doesn’t have to be an either or, in our view. Both sit proudly side by side. 

Why the aforementioned blog raised eyebrows is, if rather than embracing the beer we are creating a generation of drinkers who are primarily driven by the packaging, then they will be missing out on some great beers. Equally, it runs the risk of being a fashion fad – something that, by definition, means they will shortly be on the look for something new to focus on. 

So, let’s embrace the beer and look at a few styles available from Moon Gazer.

Our can line up includes modern takes on traditional styles – which the younger crowd are taking a liking to. Our award-winning Skiddadler milk stout is a sweet, soft yet richly complex dark beer with overtones of liquorice and chocolate. It’s also great poured over ice-cream to make a refreshing float!

PondHopper IPA is also in can, a collaboration with another Norfolk brewery, Smartmouth – but they’re from Norfolk USA. This transatlantic, easy drinking IPA again has a nod to traditional beers but is hopped in a contemporary style using popular hops from both sides of the pond, resulting in a light and fruity IPA with a soft bitterness. 

The theme of contemporary twists on tradition continues with our Bouchart X, a 10% barley wine – another beer style undergoing a renaissance – so soft and complex. This drink style is bang on trend and yes, it is in a bottle. 

Also winning in bottle are our gluten-free lagers, StubbleStag and Dewhopper. Both of these Norfolk lagers are multi-award winning and have the added benefit that they are gluten-free. Remember, the beer doesn’t know whether it’s in a bottle or can – that is our point.

There you have it. Five beers very diverse in style and appeal. So, please – let’s not get too blinkered meaning that the packaging can’t be varied, too. 

Be it bottle, be it can – it’s the beer that is the star attraction. 


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