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Tuesday, January 8th 2013

Canned Craft Beer:
A Look at Some of the Numbers

In a December 2012 article for Beverage Industry Magazine, Jessica Jacobson quotes Dan Wandel, senior vice president of beverage alcohol client insights for Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group, as stating that this (2013) is "the year of cans”. Jacobson's article entitled Honing Their Craft: A Look a What’s Driving the Craft Beer Segment also gives some pretty upbeat numbers when it comes to the still relatively small (but constantly growing) canned portion of the craft beer industry. Here are some highlights...

"Although glass bottles still represent a majority of the craft beer segment — 91.2 percent of case sales — can sales increased to 3.5 percent of case sales in Nielsen measured channels for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 15 compared with 2.2 percent a year ago..." -  Andrea Riberi, senior vice president of the professional services group for New York-based Nielsen


“Craft cans accounted for 12.7 per-cent of case growth year-to-date [as of Oct. 15], and that’s over three times the respective size, so cans have really impacted the growth even though they’re still small,” she (Riberi) adds.

"Craft can sales will double this year, which is pretty impressive..."

“Craft can sales will double this year, which is pretty impressive, and I think that the cans are becoming a very strategic package for these brewers to gain new distribution, to gain new drinking occasions where glass just may not be an option,” he says. “I do think we’re going to see cans continue to carve [out] a bigger portion of the business; I don’t think they’ll ever be the dominant one, but I do think they are going to carve out a bigger niche."


"Wandel adds that gaining those drinking occasions will complement the segment by generating new sales." - Dan Wandel SymphonyIRI Group


With all of this in mind we decided to take a look at where things currently stand and provide some statistics against which future growth can be measured . Cheers!


New England Brewing Company (photo:CraftCans.Com)



There are currently 188 different craft breweries canning their beers and at least 25-30 that have plans to begin canning soon. How do all the numbers actually break down? Which of these breweries are canning in-house? How many are partnering with other breweries with canning lines or contract canning? How many breweries are working with a mobile canning service? Which states have the most canning craft breweries? Who is using which type of labels? Who is using which size cans? Here we go...





(click above to access interactive map)


There are currently only six states (AR, MS, ND, NJ, OH and WV) in the country that are currently without a craft brewery that cans their beer. Colorado leads the nation with an astounding 27 different breweries that can their beers - with more on the way. The top 5 states for breweries that currently can their beers are:


1. Colorado (27)

2. California (13)

3. Oregon (10)

3. Washington (10)

5. Wisconsin (9)


Out of all the craft breweries that can their beers a total of 143 of them are canning their own beer on a canning line that they own, 29 of them are contracting with another brewery to can their beers, and 18 of them are using a mobile canning service. (Two of the breweries used a combination which is why the numbers equal 190 and not 188)


Here is the breakdown...




This will be a segment of the canned craft beer industry that will surely grow in 2013. Beginning just a couple years ago with The Can Van in California and Mobile Canning, LLC in Colorado, there are now quite a few different mobile canning operations getting off the ground. Mobile Canning, LLC has even begun to branch out nationally forging partnerships with mobile canners in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia. If there isn't currently a mobile canning outfit near you, there will be soon...

Here is a list of the mobile canning companies that we are currently aware of...


Mobile Canning, LLC (Colorado)

The Can Van (Northern California)

Craft Canning (Oregon)

Cascade Mobile Canning (Oregon)

Northwest Canning (Idaho, Oregon, Washington)

Can It! Mobile (Midwest)

Great Lakes Mobile Canning (Ohio)

Old Dominion Mobile Canning (Virginia)

American Canning (Austin, Texas)

TX Cannery (Dallas, Texas)

We Can Canning Solutions (Pennsylvania)

Craft Beer Crew (Florida)



With all of these cans rolling off canning lines or being canned manually we also wanted to break down the ways in which cans are being labeled. With the large minimum orders on printed cans we are starting to see more and more breweries get creative and find ways around it. Here we breakdown the ways in which the current American craft breweries are labeling their cans. As you can see the majority of breweries are using cans that arrive with printed designs. Other options include sticker labels and shrink wraps as well as the "multi-style" can which is a printed can that allows a brewery to adhere a sticker which tells the consumer which style is inside. This seems to be a growing trend among small breweries as it allows a brewery to can as much or as little of a style that they'd like and works well for seasonal beers (Southern Star Brewing Company) and special releases (Sun King Brewing Company). 




In 2010, I put together a post about "Why the 16 oz. 'pint' can is the craft beer container of today (and tomorrow)". Since then the pint can continues to become increasingly popular within the craft beer industry. The four-pack of 16 oz. cans is becoming more and more the go to packaging format for a variety of reasons. If you can believe it, a total of approximately 635 different craft beers were canned in the past year alone. Here we break down the different sizes of cans that craft brewers used to package their beers. The 12 oz. can still remains the most popular option but the 16 oz. can is certainly gaining ground. We also expect more breweries to take a chance with other size formats like Sixpoint and their slim cans and Sun King Brewing's use of Ball's re-sealable Alumi-Tek® pint bottles. In a very crowded beer aisle/cooler it makes sense to try and stand out...




Finally, we take a look at styles as more and more craft breweries are canning styles that they likely wouldn't have taken the chance with a few years ago. Gone are the days in which blonde ales and amber ales were the prime candidates for cans - although they still remain popular. Today's craft breweries are canning everything from big hoppy Imperial IPAs to super, malty and complex Belgian-style Tripels and Quads. 


The TEN most popular styles of the 635 different craft beers canned in the past year are as follows:


1. American India Pale Ale (106)

2. American Pale Ale (61)

3. American Amber/Red Ale (41)

4. American Blonde Ale (32)

5. American Pale Wheat Ale (29)

6. American Double/Imperial IPA (25)

7. American Brown Ale (24)

8. Belgian-style Witbier (17)

9. Fruit/Vegetable Beers (14)

10. Hefeweizen (11)

10. Kolsch (11)



To summarize all of this is basically to say that the canned segment of the craft beer industry is poised to really take off in 2013. Perhaps it will indeed be the "year of cans" as Dan Wandel states, only time will tell. For now, we're excited for all of the new beers that will be coming out this year and all of the new breweries that are just starting to brew. We've got a lot to look forward to in 2013! Cheers!

If you have questions feel free to contact us at info@craftcans.com

Posted by Russ

Labels: Numbers