IRON CITY BEER Aluminum bottles to debut
Alcoa hopes to win back a share of the market it lost to glass and plastic bottles.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- How much would you pay for a bottle of beer that stays cold for nearly an hour longer? Pittsburgh Brewing Co., maker of Iron City Beer, is asking an additional $1 per case.
The brewery has partnered with Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum maker, to produce aluminum bottles that keep beer colder for as much as 50 minutes longer, Alcoa officials said.
About 20,000 cases of the new aluminum bottle beer are en route to as many as 28 states and should be on shelves this week, Alcoa and Pittsburgh Brewing announced Tuesday.
The bottles have three times the aluminum of a typical beer can. That gives them superior insulation, said Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery.
It's not the first time Alcoa has teamed up with the local brewery to put out a new product. In 1962, the two put the first pull-tab beer cans on shelves, freeing beer drinkers of the need to carry openers with them.
"We think it's much better than a can and as good or better than glass," said Joe Piccirilli, vice chairman for Pittsburgh Brewing. "There's no doubt in my mind that this has the same potential as the pull tab we did with Alcoa."
High hopes at Alcoa
Iron City wants to expand sales. But the aluminum bottle may be more important to Alcoa. The aluminum giant wants to win back a share of the market it lost to beer bottles -- both glass and plastic, which are now common at sporting events nationwide.
About 40 percent of all beer consumed comes out of cans, 43 percent from bottles and 8 percent from the tap, according to the Beer Institute, which tracks industry trends. Bottles, however, have gained ground over the past decade.
Plastic bottles make up only half a percent of all beer sales, according to the Beer Institute. But having aluminum bottles at sporting events would introduce the product to thousands, who might buy a case for home.
Pittsburgh Brewing said it won't drop glass bottles or cans from production.