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by Zenia Brink
January 3, 2012
"If I didn't own a brewery I'd own a mobile canning unit."

That's how enthusiastic Jeff Crabtree, head of Crabtree Brewing Co. in Greeley, feels about his recent experience with Mobile Canning, a new business started by Pat Hartman and Ron Popma that allows smaller breweries that are unable to purchase canning lines of their own, to bring Mobile Canning to their brewery and can their beers.

Mobile Canning was launched in the fall after Hartman had heard about Mobile Bottling units in California and wondered "why can't that be done with cans?" Mobile Canning consists of a sixteen foot box truck that contains a canning line built by Wild Goose Engineering out of Boulder. Mobile Canning comes with everything a brewery needs to can their brew; the line, attachments, and blank cans ready for a shrink sleeve label. It also comes with a much lower price tag than if the brewery were to buy a canning line out right. Many of the small to mid-size breweries simply do not have the capital it would take to purchase a canning line, which often runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. They also bring only the cans the brewery will use, saving the brewery from the 200,000 minimum order from Ball.

Once at the brewery Mobile Canning hooks up as close to the bright tank as possible in order to eliminate temperature changes or waste in the lining. Their canning line can do a case of beer a minute.

Jeff Crabtree invited Mobile Canning to his brewery about a month ago to can his Eclipse Black IPA in 16oz cans. 50,000 units were canned and 100 cases distributed along the front range. Crabtree was so pleased with the results he's asked them to come back and can more of his beers. Next up is Crabtree's GABF 2011 Silver Medal winning Oatmeal Stout, which should be released in the 16oz cans shortly after the start of the new year.

When Crabtree opened his brewery almost six years ago he bought a 24 valve rotary filler "and it was a nightmare learning to package. I have no plans ever to buy a canning line, I don't care if Mobile Canning have to set up shop 5 days a week here. It's great to be able to sit back and drink a beer while someone else does the packaging." Says Crabtree.

Both Crabtree and Hartman regard Mobile Canning as a huge advantage not only for breweries, but also for the consumer. Hartman says the smaller breweries "know that cans are the next revolution and they want to get their beers in cans to keep up." Mobile Canning allows breweries more distribution at very little cost. This in turn helps breweries reach consumers who may have otherwise not had access to their beers.

In 2012 look for more breweries to utilize Mobile Canning to get their beers to the consumer. Renegade Brewing Co. in Denver and Crystal Springs Brewing Company in Boulder are just two of the breweries excited to can their beers in the new year.
Photo Courtesy of Crabtree Brewing Co.
Crabtree looks on as their Eclipse Black IPA is canned for the first time.
Photo Courtesy of Crabtree Brewing Co.
The Eclipse Black IPA filled and practically at your local liquor store. The compact machinery operated by Mobile Canning completes a case of beer a minute.
Have Can, Will Travel - Comments

One Response to “Have Can, Will Travel”

  1. alex C Schickedanz says:

    have a question about labels and ideas how to put labels on blank cans

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