Could steel capture a noticeable share of the U.S. beverage can market in the next three years? Startling as it sounds this worldwide trend may soon come to the U.S. It has its roots in the steady per capita increase in consumption of aluminum and the rising cost of the primary aluminum metal. The beverage can market has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past decade. Volume doubled from 52 billion cans in 1985 to 105 billion in '94. This year however this enormous market has been affected by price increases particularly on aluminum cans that went into effect in June '94. Pioneered by the new pricing formula announced by Alcoa (Pittsburgh PA) the beverage industry could pay a premium of over $800 million this year to use aluminum instead of steel. Nevertheless as of May there are no reports of any canmaking lines in the U.S. being converted to steel production. Does this mean a total acceptance of the increase in aluminum sheet? Highly unlikely. For some indication of the bottlers' attitude note recent overseas developments. In Europe over the last two to three years aluminum has been repeating its U.S. performance taking over one market after another: Greece Italy Scandinavia and most recently taking a majority of the United Kingdom market. However in the words of aluminum specialist Robin Adams of Resource Strategies "The aluminum price increase has totally stopped the European conversion." Several companies in three European markets have made decisions to change at least seven canmaking lines back to steel. On June 7 Carnaud Metalbox (Boulogne-sur-Se France) and CCC Europe (Deventer The Netherlands) both publicly announced the conversion of several lines from aluminum to steel. And there are rumors that similar changes are underway in Australia. If this is underway overseas why not in the U.S.?