I made a trip up to Chico, California last week to interview Ken Grossman for an article I’m working on and fortuitously happened upon a new innovation that Sierra Nevada Brewing just launched. They’ve discarded the twist-off crown in favor of a new one they’re calling a “pry-off cap.” They’re using up their old stock now and then replacing it with the new crowns so over the next few weeks or months you’ll begin seeing the new crowns on store shelves. Some, like Pale Ale, have already made the switch.
What’s innovative about this is the material they’re using inside the cap that sits against the top of the glass bottle providing the seal. Oxidation is, of course, probably the most common reason beer goes bad. Twist-off crowns and regular crowns do a pretty good job of creating an oxygen barrier and keeping out the oxygen, but they’re not perfect and some oxidation will occur over time. So Grossman spent the last 6-7 years researching how to make a better seal. What he came up with was a super high-density non-PVC substance that’s used in Germany but is uncommon here. It’s harder than the usual rubbery crown insides and requires a bit more pressure to seal, which is why they can’t use the twist-off cap any longer. But the new substance keeps out oxygen ten times better than anything else Sierra Nevada tested, so having to use a bottle opener is a small price to pay for a fresher beer that stays fresher longer. Now that’s a good use of new technology.
Jess Sand says
What’s funny about this—at least to me—is that I was never able to twist off the Sierra cap anyway (touch of the old rheumatism and all that). I am consistently impressed, however, with Sierra’s commitment to look at every detail before making decisions like this, including the use of non-PVC material.
California Pete says
I’m still waiting for Sierra Nevada in cans. (And no, I’m not being sarcastic.)
Steve Beaumont says
Perchance another nail in the coffin of the twist-off? Okay, probably not, but a man can dream…
Kudos to Ken and Sierra for getting rid of what may just be the worst innovation in beer packaging in recent memory.
Anchor’s transition to screw off (he he) saddened me. I’ll be happy to use my fine Anchor opener (which is fine to go through airport security) on the new Sierra.
Did you hear that? That was the sound of the church key, bottle opener market soaring. And what Pete said…
Monroe (SF) says
I enjoy a Sierra Pale Ale, but it’s not my favorite. That being said, I’ve always noticed differing quality in it from bottle to bottle. I know there has to be some variation in any beer’s batches, but theirs seems more noticeable to me. Maybe this will fix that. Anyone else notice this?
While this is good news…can anyone honestly say they’ve encountered oxidized SN bottles? Never in my case. Plus this ruins the easy “pffth” of Bigfoot as my wedding reception sneak in beer.
SN also deserves kudos for dating all their beer. Hats off to Ken & Co., all around.