Guys from DEBC Form New Venture in Mobile Canning, Plus Lessons Learned After One Year of Brewing
As craft beer continues to make frothy headway, one on-going debate is whether it's better to package the brew in cans or bottles. (Imagine the tragedy if we ran out of things to debate.) There are several benefits to canning beer, like lower costs and ease of storage and handling. Cans are also more eco-friendly and actually help maintain beer quality. But, then some think beer tastes different out of a can.
- Dallas Beer Week
Regardless of preferences, the problem for small brewers is the expense of canning equipment. Plus, they need more space for the equipment, which also costs money. On the other hand, packaging in either cans or bottles expands brewers' access to market.
"There's a never ending cycle of things the brewery needs, to be honest," says John Reardon of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. (DEBC). "The capital expenditures in this business are incredible and just really never stop."
One of those "capital expenditures" for DEBC recently was a small used bottling line it purchased from a brewery up north. Reardon concedes in a slightly exasperated tone that dealing with that bottling line has been "horrendous."
"There's broken glass absolutely everywhere," Reardon says. "It's a pain to deal with. Our idea has always been to get to canning at some point, we just never really knew when."
Well, now they do.
Earlier this year Reardon and his long-time friend Zack Fickey made a trip to Boston for a beer launch. While there, Reardon read an article about a mobile canning unit and tucked the idea away under his brewer's hat. He pulled it back out after his bottling line got ornery. Basically, instead of setting up a canning machine inside the brewery, a system is loaded onto the back of a truck and can be taken anywhere.
"It's a good option for a smaller brewer that wants to try out packaging but doesn't have the resources for their own set up," Reardon says. "A company called Wild Goose Canning is building the unit and it's being delivered next week. We've got our initial two can designs over at the Ball Corporation, which is another big benefit for us, is having that facility so close, we can just pick up our cans any time."
Technically a separate project from DEBC, Reardon and Fickey's new venture, called TX Canning, will certainly speed the process of getting their beer to market, and hopefully others too.