Not long ago, the humble can was seen as a second-class beer packaging: “Good” beer was sold in a bottle. But in 2002, Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery took advantage of a new, small-batch canning system, becoming the first modern craft brewer to put its product in aluminum. About a decade later, the can fully came into its own. Vermont’s The Alchemist began selling its now-legendary Heady Topper in 16-ounce cans in 2011, one of the many highly-hyped breweries that helped make canned beer not only cool, but coveted. Soon after, pint-sized aluminum cans – once reserved for mainstream “pounders” – had become the de facto packaging of craft beer’s hippest new style, the New England IPA. Now, the previous generation’s philosophy has flipped: Beer geeks gravitate towards cans. Aluminum comes with a number of pros – including doing a better job of sealing out the elements like light and air – but these cans also signal that a brewer is on-trend. To coincide with this image, cutting-edge breweries have also launched an unspoken initiative to insure the imagery on the outside of their packaging is as amazing as the liquid inside. Beer can art has emerged as the newest frontier for brands looking to make a statement in an increasingly crowded craft scene that now boasts over 6,000 breweries, a fourfold increase from the days of Oskar Blues’ first canning foray. Along the way, the style seen on labels has become as much of a feast for the eyes as the brews these cans hold are intriguing drinkers’ taste buds.