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Alaskan Brewing Company Expanding and Adding Cans to Lineup
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Mixed Pack Includes Collaboration Cans from Oskar Blues and Cigar City
River City Cannery Begins Canning
Q & A with Jeff McGinnis
CFO at Midwest Mobile Canning
Portside's Big Chuck is Strongest Craft Beer to be Canned So Far
Red Hare Brewing to use World's First Certified High-Recycled Content Aluminum Can
Eleven Craft Brewers to Package Homefront IPA in Uniform Can
Oskar Blues Becomes First US
Craft Brewery to use Nitro Cans
Q & A with Michael Berglund
Artist at Surly Brewing Company
MillerCoors to Introduce Coors Light Cans with Helium Widgets

Mississippi Fire Ant
(Southern Prohibition Brewing)
2020 IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)
People's Pilsner
(People's Brewing Company)
Hot Date Ale
(Piney River Brewing Company)
Roughtail IPA
(Roughtail Brewing Company)
(Oskar Blues Brewery)
Masked Bandit IPA
(Piney River Brewing Company)
River North White
(River North Brewery)
Gerry Dog Stout
(Big Elm Brewing Company)
(Terrapin Beer Company)

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Friday, April 18th 2014

Alaskan Brewing Company Expanding and Adding Cans to Lineup

(Juneau, AK) – Alaskan Brewing Company today announced the start of a facility expansion, the installation of a new beer canning line, and the beginning of distribution into South Dakota and Michigan.

“It’s a huge day for us here at Alaskan,” said co-founder Geoff Larson. “We have so much going on, and it is all focused on bringing our beer to new consumers, in new locations and in new packages – while taking care of all the loyal customers who have gotten us this far.”

The facility expansion broke ground this week, and will allow for Alaskan to join its two existing buildings together, in order to make more room for packaging and warehousing. Larson said it will also bring greater efficiency to operations, as forklifts will be used to move supplies and product instead of the current system of trucking beer between the two buildings.

The expansion will be conducted in two phases, with the first phase allowing for increased warehouse and production capacity completed by February 2015. The concept for the second phase will eventually allow for new retail space to expand the brewery’s gift shop and tasting room.

The new canning line installed in the past month was chosen with quality in mind, and reduces the amount of oxygen picked up during the canning process to the same level as the bottling line, which will continue to ensure the freshest tasting beer for Alaskan fans. In order to enter the growing beer can market, Alaskan bought a small filler and shoehorned it into a tight spot in the brewery between the existing bottling line and the packaging tanks.

“With our small warehouse and the addition of a new can line, it is so tight in our packaging areas right now that we are only going to be able to produce a limited amount of cans and will only be putting out Alaskan Amber and Freeride APA for our local Alaska market to start with,” said Plant Manager Curtis Holmes. “But we’re excited to be able to supply cans as an alternative package so people can continue to enjoy our beer on their outdoor Alaskan adventures.”

Holmes said that once the first phase building construction is finished, the plan is to move the canning line into the new building.

“With the larger warehouse we can then increase our production and supply cans to the rest of our markets,” Holmes said.

And those markets have expanded as well – with the addition this week of South Dakota and Michigan, making a total of 17 states where Alaskan is now available.

“We have been working on getting into these states for quite a while now, and we couldn’t be happier about our new distributor partners,” said Jon Blakley, Sales Operations Manager for Alaskan. “South Dakota connects our Midwest territory, and Michigan is a major new market for us – it’s the first state we have entered that operates on East Coast time! And Michigan beer drinkers are very knowledgeable, so we think our beer is going to do really well there.”

Gary Thompson of Powers Distributing in Detroit – part of the M1 Network of 11 distributors covering the entire state of Michigan – echoed those comments. “Alaskan is a brand that already has great name recognition, so we know there is a pent-up demand for their beer. This network is really excited to open the ‘Alaskan Pipeline!’ Alaskan is a highly regarded brewer and supplier and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

In South Dakota, Alaskan beer will be distributed through 4 distributor partners – Beal Distributing in Sioux Falls, Ellwein Distributing in Huron, Conkling Distributing in Yankton, and Eagle Sales in Rapid City and Chamberlain.

“Everything we do at Alaskan has one focus,” said Larson. “Whether it is expansion of the brewery, installing new packaging lines or choosing our distributor partners – it’s all about bringing the highest quality beer and a taste of Alaska to our fans.”

Posted by Russ

Wednesday, April 16th 2014

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Mixed Pack Includes Collaboration Cans from Oskar Blues and Cigar City

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is creating quite the buzz with both their Beer Camp Across America festival series as well as their soon to be released Beer Camp Camp Across America mixed 12-pack that showcases collaboration beers from 12, yes 12, different craft breweries. Something that caught our attention was the fact that two of the beers being included in each 12-pack are actually going to be cans, while the other 10 are bottles - something that is also a packaging first.

The cans included are collaborative efforst between Sierra Nevada and both Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, NC and Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL. Here they are:

Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock

Yonder Bock is a summery twist on the robust blonde bock. Its silky, semi-sweet malt body is bolstered by a blend of new and experimental hops that impart bright, fruity hop aromas of guava, mango and passion fruit.


CANfusion Rye Bock

CANfusion is a dry-hop rye bock with a complex malt body that launches a peppery blast from the rye, balanced by a fruity hop aroma. As the style suggests,it was dry-hopped for an added aroma punch from the unique citrusy and spice-like Australian Ella hop varietal. 

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, April 15th 2014

River City Cannery Begins Canning

Mobile Canning Company Begins Operation, Serves
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Breweries

DC Firefighter turned entrepreneur offers
a new packaging solution to craft brewers.

Arlington, VA− On the morning of March 8, Matt Sebastionelli began the journey from Boulder, CO to his warehouse in Elkridge, MD, driving a 20 ft. box truck and hauling over a half a ton of equipment.  This equipment, manufactured by Wild Goose Canning based in Boulder, CO, will fill 40 aluminum cans per minute upon being wheeled into a brewery and dialed into the brewer’s finishing tanks.  

In addition to bringing his truck and equipment home to the east coast, Sebastionelli was returning from a week of hands-on training where he and his team were able to can for a few different Colorado breweries to gain some first-hand experience and learn the nuances of operating the machinery in various conditions.

Last month, River City Cannery began operation in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast where they are canning beer for staples such as Heavy Seas Brewing Co. out of Baltimore and Iron Hill Brewing Co. in Lancaster, PA, as well as up-and-comers such as Jailbreak Brewing Co., opening this spring in Laurel, MD.

“We are honored to be working with breweries like Heavy Seas, which is a backbone of the craft brewing community and are also excited to grow alongside some of the newer start-ups like Jailbreak Brewing Co.”, said Sebastionelli.

In addition to providing a quality packaging service, River City Cannery offers on-demand inventory management that allows breweries to avoid large order minimums with suppliers and frees up storage space in their facility.  “By ordering cans and lids in very large batches, we are able to pass along those savings to our brewery partners who would otherwise be held to extremely large order minimums and forced to store pallets of empty cans in their facility until they are able to go through them. Instead, we house them in our warehouse and bring them to the brewery as needed.”

The response to mobile canning in this region has been so positive, that Sebastionelli has already placed an order for a second canning line to be in operation by late summer 2014.  “Given the high demand for mobile canning and our initial response from the brewing community, it makes sense for us to scale by expanding our operating capacity.”

Furthermore, Sebastionelli has no intentions of limiting his services to beer. “Our long-term goal is to operate multiple canning lines where we can service other beverage manufacturers such as wine, mead, kombucha, coffee, energy drinks, flavored waters, and even liquors. There are many reasons why beverage manufacturers are turning to cans and it’s only a matter of time before this reaches other beverage industries outside of beer.”

As Washington Business Journal reporter, Rebecca Cooper, noted in her August 2014 article on River City Cannery, Sebastionelli began his career as a firefighter and came up with the idea for a mobile canning business after getting injured on the job in 2011 and facing possible retirement.  “As a firefighter, not doing your job properly can cost someone a life.  Not maintaining high-quality packaging standards may not cost a life, but we treat the canning process with the same level of care and precision because it does cost the brewers money and we want to preserve the integrity of their beer.”

About River City Cannery

River City Cannery is a member of Mobile Canning Systems (MCS) affiliate network based out of Longmont, CO. that services breweries located in Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Southern New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.rivercitycannery.com.

Posted by Russ

Monday, April 14th 2014

Q & A with Jeff McGinnis
CFO at Midwest Mobile Canning

Capital Brewery's recently canned Lake House is a Helles-style Lager

Bernie Brewer won’t be the only one making a big beer splash at Miller Park in Milwaukee this summer. Midwest Mobile Canning, LLC teamed up with Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI to fill 2,600 cases of their Lake House Helles Lager just in time to be sold at the ball park for opening day 2014.

We checked in with CFO Jeff McGinnis to learn more about this affiliate of Mobile Canning Systems and how their work landed on a big stage in one of America’s most fabled beer cities.

CC:  Tell us a little bit about the Midwest Mobile Canning team. 

JM:  We’re a family business.  My dad Terry, my brother Joel, and I make up the team. I’m a full-time CPA in the Chicago area, so Terry and Joel run the business. I help in sales, and being a big beer geek I’m able to talk to brewers at festivals and other events that I enjoy attending. I also can help number crunch with breweries.


CC:  How did the McGinnis family get involved in the craft can revolution?

JM:  Terry was ready to retire from the retail business after working 43 years at the same company, but he was not ready to quit working. He would have been bored not doing something.  He read about Michigan Mobile Canning in a newspaper article, and sent it to me since I’m a craft beer fan and a CPA who works with small businesses. We vetted the opportunity, and worked with an investor to bring the mobile canning line to Chicago and Minneapolis.

CC:  What beers have you canned so far?

JM:  We broke in our line under Mobile Canning’s guidance out in Boulder, Colorado.  In early November 2013 we trained and tested by filling Boulder Brewing's Hazed & Infused and Renegade's Elevation.  Along the way we teamed up with Michigan Mobile Canning to can a contract brew at Upland Brewing in Bloomington, Indiana.  Our line has a chuck that accommodates the Crown 360 ends, which is what the customer wanted for that beer.

Our first solo run was at Galena Brewing Company in early March 2014, filling pint cans of their Anna Belle’s IPA.  And of course, our most recent run was at Capital. 

CC:  Having cans you filled sold at a major league ball park is pretty remarkable.  How did you come to get the job at Capital?

JM: Corey Wehling, Capital’s VP of Sales explains: “For the Miller Park sale, we had a meeting with them back in January to review what worked in 2013 and what we could do to better serve their needs in 2014.  We sold limited amounts of 12oz cans in 2013 at Miller Park.  It was suggested that sales would multiply if we could provide a 16oz can for the 2014 season.  Lake House 16oz cans was the obvious choice since it is an easy drinking Helles style lager and would be perfect for ballparks and festivals all over Wisconsin. Midwest Mobile was able to fit a run in just in time for us to make the introduction on opening day.  Multiple people took to Facebook and Twitter on March 31st while at Miller Park, showing off the great new package that they were enjoying.” 

Brian Destree, Capital Brewing Operations Manager, said that they were so pleased with our professionalism and the less than 2% loss during the canning process that they decided to schedule another canning session, which they did right away for mid-May.

CC:  What’s next for Midwest Mobile Canning?

JM: We have 5 Rabbits and several more coming up, announcements will be coming. Maybe even something for those Packers fans to drink at home games! Also we will be at the Binny’s Ballpark Brewfest at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium on Saturday May 3rd to showcase the canning line to end customers and local brewers in attendance!  

Posted by Trent

Monday, April 14th 2014

Portside's Big Chuck is Strongest Craft Beer to be Canned So Far

Portside Brewery's Big Chuck Barleywine weighs in at 11.7%

At 11.7%, Portside Brewery's Big Chuck Barleywine has squeeked by 21st Amendment's Lower de Boom to become the strongest canned craft beer to date. Big Chuck is named for "Big Chuck Schodowski", a longtime TV personality in Portside's hometown of Cleveland. Cans of Big Chuck were filled by mobile canning outfit, Buckeye Canning. It's a good thing that Big Chuck isn't much stronger than an already numbing 11.7% considering Ohio state law mandates that beer not exceed 12%. For more about this beer go HERE

Posted by Russ