Beer Cans Look Completely Different In Hawaii For A Weird Reason

Hawaii has differently shaped beer cans because it stuck with the 206 style that was phased out long ago in the continental US.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Updated

beer cans hawaii

Hawaii is known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, relaxing atmosphere, and delicious food. But did you know that the islands are also home to a unique style of beer cans? That tidbit likely isn’t news for anyone who has spent time on the islands, but they may not know why that happens.

But, first, a little history about beer cans. In 1987, U.S. soft drink manufacturers introduced a style of aluminum can known as the 206 Diameter model. They were 12oz like the cans we are familiar with today but featured four small ridges just before the lip and a taller neck. 

According to Vine Pair, “The design calls for more aluminum than today’s standard 12-ouncer and was eventually phased out in the U.S. mainland due to rising production costs. While the packaging design does require more raw materials, it’s favored as a sturdier alternative that prevents cans from easily rupturing.” Unfortunately, the cost-saving factor outweighed the better design. 

But Hawaii decided to retain the original design for its beer cans, unlike the mainland. So a handful of distributors decided to continue producing the 206 for locally distributed products. However, beer cans are not the only ones featuring the snazzy can.

In Hawaii, soda, juice, and other canned beverages also use the 206 can. They can afford to use the more expensive cans because of the smaller distribution area, which is good news for companies and consumers. “As the manufacturers ship only to local retailers and consumers, thus saving on transportation costs, the extra aluminum needed for production isn’t as financially consequential.”

Some companies, like Ball, even have facilities in Hawaii that produce these unique cans. According to The Star-Bulletin, a local Hawaiian newspaper, Ball’s plant in Hawaii is the smallest in the company. But even so, it produces a shocking 300 million cans annually.

One of the companies that purchases the taller cans from Ball’s facility is Maui Brewing Co. They wanted to ensure their beer and beer cans are local. Owner Garrett Marrero orders at least 100,000 cans every month. He said, “Even though the cans cost more here, we save on shipping and also get to further support our local economy” 

“Also Ball Corp. is the premier maker of such cans, and the process includes the lining of the cans to keep the beer separate from the metal,” Marrero continued. And Ball Corp. puts a great deal of time and effort into producing high-quality cans for their clients. “The plant needs about three weeks to a month to prepare a regular order.”

And thanks to their processing methods, many of the beer cans you buy in Hawaii come from recycled materials. “Much of the aluminum shipped from the plant’s supplier in Kentucky is reused.” According to Marrero, ‘Once aluminum gets recycled, it is basically virgin aluminum.” 
That is great news for the environmentally conscious. They can get beer cans that are a blast from the past while also doing their part to protect the environment. It is a win all-around.