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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
Tallgrass Announces New Five Million Dollar Brewing Facility
Good People Coffee Oatmeal Stout Now Available in Cans

Mississippi Fire Ant
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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

Wednesday, April 9th 2014

Red Hare Brewing to use World's First Certified High-Recycled Content Aluminum Can

Red Hare craft beer packaged exclusively in cans made of Novelis' evercan aluminum sheet, which is made of a guaranteed minimum 90 percent recycled content, is expected to be on store shelves beginning in May 2014 in key markets throughout the southeastern U.S.

Novelis Marks Commercial Debut of evercan™
Aluminum Beverage Can Sheet

Red Hare Brewing Company to package its craft beer in world's first certified high-recycled content aluminum beverage can

ATLANTA and DENVER, April 9, 2014 - Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, today announced at the 2014 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver that Red Hare Brewing Company will launch the world's first commercial use of evercan™, the company's independently certified high-recycled content aluminum sheet for beverage cans.

Red Hare craft beer packaged exclusively in cans made of Novelis' evercan aluminum sheet, which is made of a guaranteed minimum 90 percent recycled content, is expected to be on store shelves beginning in May 2014 in key markets throughout the southeastern U.S.

"This introduction marks the commercial availability of the world's first certified high-recycled content aluminum beverage can," said Phil Martens, President and Chief Executive Officer for Novelis. "Working with Red Hare, we have developed a proven supply chain to deliver this industry-first offering to consumers, setting an example that other beverage companies are sure to follow."

"Novelis' evercan is a perfect fit for Red Hare," noted Roger Davis, founder and CEO of Red Hare Brewing Company. "The independent certification of the closed-loop recycling process behind evercan strengthens our commitment to employing the best in sustainable business practices, making evercan a natural extension of the Red Hare brand."

Red Hare Brewing Company, one of the fastest-growing micro-breweries in the U.S., selected Novelis' evercan aluminum as part of its commitment aimed at reducing the company's environmental footprint, while preserving the freshness and enhancing the taste of its finely crafted beer. Red Hare was the first craft brewery in Georgia to package its products in aluminum cans, following a trend in the micro-brewery industry to move from bottles to cans as a way to expand distribution and appeal to on-the-go consumers. Nearly 400 craft brewers in nearly every state in the U.S. are canning more than 1,300 different beers.

"Novelis' evercan is an excellent model for sustainability-based innovation, which will enable beverage brands and retailers to advance their own sustainable packaging goals," said Stuart L. Hart, S. J. Johnson Professor Emeritus in Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University, founder of the Enterprise for a Sustainable World and author of Capitalism at the Crossroads. "This introduction also serves as an important catalyst to educate other brand holders and consumers about the value of closed-loop aluminum recycling and engage them to take action themselves."

Novelis' evercan is now available to beverage companies globally. Company facilities in North America, Europe, South America and Asia are now certified to produce evercan by SCS Global Services, a recognized leader in environmental auditing.

"Recycling aluminum requires 95 percent less energy, and produces 95 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), than manufacturing primary aluminum."

The company's efforts to increase the recycling of beverage cans is a key component of its strategy to dramatically increase the recycled content of its products across its global operations to 80 percent by 2020. Already the world's largest recycler of aluminum, Novelis has announced capital investments of approximately $500 million over the last two years that will double its global recycling capacity to 2.1 million metric tons by 2015. Recycling aluminum requires 95 percent less energy, and produces 95 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), than manufacturing primary aluminum.

About Novelis

Novelis Inc. is the global leader in aluminum rolled products and the world's largest recycler of aluminum. The company operates in nine countries, has approximately 11,000 employees and reported revenue of $9.8 billion for its 2013 fiscal year. Novelis supplies premium aluminum sheet and foil products to automotive, transportation, packaging, construction, industrial and consumer electronics markets throughout North America, Europe, Asia and South America. The company is part of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai, India. For more information, visit www.novelis.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Novelis.

About Red Hare Brewing Company

Red Hare Brewing Company is an independent micro-brewer located in Marietta, Georgia. In August 2011, Red Hare starting selling its craft beer throughout the state of Georgia, and is now also available in South Carolina and Tennessee. Red Hare is the first craft brewery in Georgia to can their beer. For more information, visit redharebrewing.com.

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, April 8th 2014

Eleven Craft Brewers to Package Homefront IPA in Uniform Can

Eleven different craft breweries will take part in this year's brewing of Homefront IPA with the end products being packaged in the can design shown above. This is a really cool project with the IPA actually being aged on maple Louisville Slugger bats and all proceeds going to Operation Homefront. You can read the full press release below...


Hops for Heroes is excited to announce the participating breweries for this year’s brewing of Homefront IPA.

Since 2011, Hops for Heroes has been expanding each year. The dedication to our troops by the craft brewing community can be seen with 11 total breweries participating in 2014. This dedication can also be seen by the growing number of sponsors, including Crown Beverage Packaging USA, who has come on board to supply a uniform can for this year's efforts.

Homefront IPA was developed in 2011 by Fremont Brewing Company and Center of the Universe Brewing Company in order to raise money and awareness for Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront is a charity that provides emergency assistance to military heroes and their families. Aged on Louisville Slugger maple bats, this IPA does more than just quench your thirst; it improves the lives of our soldiers.

Homefront IPA is a unique charity beer in that 100% of the proceeds are donated to Operation Homefront. With the help of 6 participating breweries and other organizations that donated the hops and grains used to make the beer, Hops for Heroes was able to raise roughly $80,000 dollars for Operation Homefront in 2013.

This year, Hops for Heroes is hoping to top $200,000 and is set to brew 800 barrels (24,800 gallons) of beer between the 11 participating breweries. The beers will be debuting a week before Memorial Day.

Posted by Russ