The Can Van visits Santa Cruz

August 28, 2013

IMG_0071Canned beer is starting to become not only accepted by even the most steadfast of beer geeks, but in fact, it’s even starting to be preferred amongst some craft beerheads.

Though canned beer still likely conjures up images of such low-brow brews as Genny Cream Ale and hipster fave, Pabst Blue Ribbon, more of the brewing elite are starting to turn to aluminum over glass.

The Business Insider’s Steve Perlberg had a piece earlier this month extolling the benefits of canned beer. 

When Durango, Colorado-based craft beer company Ska Brewingfirst chose to favor canning instead of bottling their beer, it was all about practicality — glass bottles simply didn’t mesh with the founders’ outdoorsy lifestyle.

“Bottles are no good for river trips,” Ska’s Dave Welz told Business Insider. Also, “You might want to have a beer at the summit of a hike.”

Then, they were following in the canning footsteps of fellow Colorado craft brewer Oskar Blues.

Now canned beer — for Ska based more on a rugged ethos than its bottom line — has proliferated across the country like the craft beer phenomenon before it.

Canning innovation is on the rise. And why not? It’s cheaper to produce and better for the environment, Welz says.

It makes sense then, that our local breweries might also engage in this quickly rising trend. Rather than shell out tons of money for the canning equipment, however, many smaller breweries — such as our own Seabright Brewery — are turning to the Can Van, a mobile canning operation based in Northern California. The team visited Seabright Wednesday to can up the brewery’s beloved IPA, Blur.

The Can Van was created by a group of friends who met at San Francisco’s Presidio Graduate School, where they were all enrolled in the sustainable master’s of business administration program. Now Jenn Coyle, Lindsey Herrema, Kate Drane and Jack Blackshear bring their operation to breweries throughout the region and help can up their products. The Can Van — OK, it’s actually a trailer attached to a truck, but Can Van sounds a little cooler than Can Trailer — made its first “voyage” in January 2012. Smart Planet had a good piece about the business earlier this year.

Jason Chavez, brewmaster at Seabright Brewery, said he met the folks behind Can Van at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last year.

He says cans are a great option for smaller breweries like Seabright for a variety of reasons. They’re more shelf-stable than bottles, more air-tighter,  and they help keep out light that could lead to product damage. They’re also lighter-weight and more easily recyclable.

“More and more people are looking for craft beer in a can,” Chavez says. “More places are doing it now – it’s a great way to sell your beer.”

And using the services of the Can Van makes it much more affordable for Seabright Brewery, Chavez says.

“Cost-wise, it works for us – we don’t have to invest in the initial (canning) equipment ,” he says.

Blur in cans is available for purchase to drink in-house at Seabright Brewery, or in six-packs to go. Just ask your friendly bartender there. Oh and props go to my homegirl at Brooktown Designfor the great label each can


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One Response to The Can Van visits Santa Cruz

  1. August 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I am in awe. A roaming canning plant, so each brewery doesn’t have to have its own equipment or space. It’s green, it’s locavore, it’s cost-effective, and no billionaire investors are skimming money off it.

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