If you’ve been lucky enough to sip a cold beer in Hawaii lately, you may have noticed the can looked slightly different.
A row of four tiny ridges on the lip of certain cans call back to distribution days past — and the style is still favored by producers in the Aloha State. This particular type of 12-ounce can, called the 206 Diameter, is characterized by a taller neck and series of distinct ridges near the lip.
The 206 is produced by a handful of distributors in Hawaii, the only state where the long-lipped containers are still manufactured, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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For those who grew up during the late ‘80s in the United States, this ridged-top can might look familiar. The 206 Diameter model was first introduced in U.S. soft drink manufacturing in 1987 but was axed four years later in favor of a redesigned model that required less aluminum and thus saved cash on materials. On the Hawaiian islands today, the can is still used to package soft drinks including well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Tropicana, and Pepsi as well as craft sodas, juices, beer, and other canned beverages.
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.
A handful of distributors in Hawaii employ this production method, including a small Ball Corp. manufacturing plant and the state’s largest craft brewery, Maui Brewing Co. 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.
While Hawaii is known for its impressive views and gorgeous beaches, its unique beer containers are similarly eye-catching.