From 16 to 12: Discussing Smaller Can Formats

As Brewer touched on recently, bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to sales for bottle or can formats.

The emergence of the 12-ounce can has seen strides for many breweries.

Iowa’s Toppling Goliath is looking at making the switch from larger format bottles and cans, said Executive Brewmaster Mike Saboe and founder Clark Lewey during a chat at the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference. Lewey said along with lab equipment and increasing quality across the board, part of the $2M internal capital investment goal is to have 12-ounce cans out by December.

“It’s always been a format that we’ve found really interesting, and we’ve had a desire to get that out into the marketplace,” Saboe said. “It’s just starting to make sense to us more logistically now because before we were much smaller and everything was very manual.”

The brewery reported to the Brewers Association that it produced nearly 40,000 barrels in 2018.

Saboe did say that there are still manual aspects in brewing and packaging that the brewery wants to incorporate.

“We still want to have that feel, that touch,” he said. “So we’re still on the pulse of everything.”

Toppling Goliath is looking at integrated technologies so things that allow the brew team to still have the full control, but also take advantage of additional automation.

“We don’t need to have 10-12 people loading 12-ounce cans,” Saboe pointed out. “That’s why we’re upgrading into our a new cartoner (which arrived at the brewery in April).

“All these things that are happening behind the scenes at the brewery — these huge capital expenditures — these are things that are happening that we haven’t made a whole lot of noise about yet, but we’re about ready to do so.”

That includes 12-packs of 12-ounce cans as well along with branching into other craft beverages after state laws were recently changed.

Saboe added there’s consistency throughout the brewery’s process with plenty of forgiveness throughout the entirety of the system so the brewers know where they’re at in terms of quality along the way.

“Any minor adjustments, we have a team that’s capable and knows exactly what to do,” he said. “We fine tune the amount of DO pickup that we have. So I would expect some minor variability there that we won’t have any issue fine tuning.

“Really some of the other pieces of equipment that we’ve been taking a look at, both from breweries in our area and what we’re going to dive into [at CBC]. It just really is going allow us to peel back the layer of the onion that much further.”

Saboe said he and the brew team at Toppling Goliath always have an unending curiosity for what else they can learn about the brewing process and what new pieces of equipment can help them achieve even better beer.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.