06/20/2012 05:47 pm ET

U.S. Beer Drinkers Finally Turn Back To Drinking Out Of Cans

It's not just hipsters driving the rise in canned beer. The sluggish economy also has Americans pining for tin.

Fifty-three percent of the beer Americans drank last year came in a can -- up from roughly 48 percent between 2003 and 2006, according to statistics from the U.S. Beer Institute cited by Bloomberg News. That's the highest share of beers being consumed in a can since 1995.

The move to canned beers shows the "income effect" in practice: since Americans now have less money to spend, they're buying cheaper and lower-quality products. The median American family's net worth plunged 39 percent between 2007 and 2010, according to a Federal Reserve report. Nearly a fifth of all Americans said they couldn't even afford to feed their entire family last year, Gallup reported in February.

Americans' new inclination to reach for that PBR can instead of the Heineken bottle is a reversal of beer consumption trends seen in boom times. Beer bottles and draft beer started to become more popular in the 1990s -- a time of economic and stock market growth -- as some Americans wanted more imported beer.