Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.
By the late 19th century, cans were instrumental in the mass distribution of foodstuffs, but it wasn't until 1909 that the American Can Company made its first attempt to can beer. This was unsuccessful, and the American Can Company would have to wait for the end of Prohibition in the United States before it tried again. Finally in 1933, after two years of research, American Can developed a can that was pressurized and had a special coating to prevent the fizzy beer from chemically reacting with the tin.
For nearly 70 years, canned beer in America remained the province of the macro-breweries. Then in 2002 Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado became the first U.S. craft brewery to brew and can its own beer. The rest, as they say is history. More and more craft brewers are putting their beer in cans. Other craft breweries offering at least some of their beers in cans include Sly Fox Brewing, Surly Brewing, Ska Brewing and New England Brewing. And craft beer drinkers are realizing the benefits of cans as well. Cans keep the beer fresher longer, they are more economical to transport, and they can be taken places where glass containers often are forbidden, such as beaches and parks. Of course, whenever practical the beer should still be poured into proper glassware for consumption.
For more reading see the complete History Channel article. Lew Bryson's "You Can Can Craft Beer" article has more on the history of canned craft beer.
Update, Jan 25: According to this article in the DCist, all 29 beers offered at The Red Derby in Washington, DC are canned, craft beers included.