Boycotting Cans: A Montanans’ Guide

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I was sent an interesting article over the weekend regarding a boycott on beer cans. The boycott is a show of solidarity with the Crown Metal Packaging (a member of Crown Holdings, inc.) employees in Toronto, Ontario.

Huffington Post writes:

These 120 workers have endured a level of hardship and malice from their employer that they could not have anticipated nearly two years ago as they prepared to negotiate a new collective agreement.

In 2012, Crown Holdings doubled its profits and their CEO was given a $12 million compensation package. That same year Crown Holdings demanded a 42% wage cut for employees. The employees went on strike in September of 2013 after fair negotiations were rejected by the employer.

Seventeen months later Crown Holdings is now threatening to replace most of their employees even if a they are able to negotiate a new collective agreement. “In other words, many of the workers would have to agree to give away their jobs as a condition to settle the labour dispute,” says Marty Warren. That’s just cruel and mean-spirited.

Crown Holdings’ greed has come to light and some consumers are showing solidarity with the employees by boycotting Crown Metal Packaging products and yes, that includes canned beer. The boycott started in December of 2014 and is gaining momentum.

Check out the radio spot they’re running.

I don’t drink a lot of major beer (Anheuser-Busch, Coors, etc.). I’m a Montanan. We have the best beer in the world. But here’s the thing: most of Montana’s brewers that can use Crown Holdings’ product. Yeesh. It’s not really their fault. What choice does a small brewery like KettleHouse or Lewis and Clark have?

So, this is what I propose: join the boycott. It’s only right. Look at cans before you buy them (or order them at the bar). You should be able to find “Crown” or an image of a crown near the barcode. Do not buy those cans.

You can still support you favorite brewery though – at the brewery, with a growler, or at the tap in a bar.

It’s a real bummer because canned Montana beers are some of the best especially for floating the river. So, let’s hope the public outcry forces Crown Holdings to settle this fairly before summer.

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Calamity Jan

5 Comments

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  • Okay but damn. We can’t recycle glass bottles in Missoula so I figured cans were the way to go. I guess I better dust off my growlers.

    • Pete, If they are standard brown glass bottles without embossing (the type that Bayern uses), Bayern Brewing will take them, wash them, and refill them. Reusing is a step above recycling. They will also pay you for them. It is part of their ecopack program. For readers in Helena, Lewis and Clark Brewing collects those bottles and ships them back to Bayern for reuse.

      • Thanks, Anon, I’d forgotten about Bayern’s program. I’ll check it out again – I love their beer.

  • Take your bottles to the bins at Target. Rinse them out, no lids, and don’t dump the bags in the bins. Target takes these bins to Seattle for recycling as a service to their customers.

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