Adapting Your Brewery to More Can Sales

As a production brewery, packaging has always been a major focus for Mission Brewery with a focus on providing for distribution versus the small amount the San Diego facility moved through its tasting room.

​Yet, in March Jeremy Castellano, the brewery’s Lead Brewer & Quality Assurance Director​,​ tells Brewer that they had two tanks of small-batch beer in progress that were planned to be keg as a tasting-room exclusive.

“Unfortunately, that plan was rendered moot once the pandemic caused us to stop serving in our tasting room,” Castellano said. “We took this opportunity to do our first small-batch can release by obtaining some blank 16oz cans, ordering one-off labels, and canning these small-batch tanks on our canning line.”

Since then, Mission has released four small-batch beers with great success and this new model for sales is intended to continue going forward.

What used to be a 60/40 split of packaged to draft for Cincinnati’s Urban Artifact is now projected to be closer to 90/10 for the next year, according to Director of Brewing Ops, Bret Kollman Baker.

“Thankfully for us, we are a ‘bigger’ brewery in regards to our label, lids, cans, and mobile canning supplier. So we have a little pull,” he said. “That has helped in that as things rapidly change and we are putting beers in cans we were not planning on, which reduced our intercompany lead times, we were able to put a bit of pressure on our suppliers to meet our expedited needs. So that’s been nice.

“We aren’t often ‘the big dogs’ when dealing with most of our suppliers.”

Gustavo Zuquim, the CFO for Novo Brazil said that suppliers have managed to offer the Chula Vista, California brewery the same quality of service and products so far.

“No problem on this,” he said adding that canning has grown, especially because of the pandemic, but the brewery is also in its growth path.

As Mission’s production demands for cans have increased, Castellano said that they have had to source cans and ends from multiple vendors to ensure an adequate supply.

“With everyone else in the market also seeing an increased demand for packaged product, we’ve seen vendors and other breweries run into supply constraints,” he said. “Sufficiently planning ahead to accurately predict production needs is key in this case, but with the external situation changing daily, forecasting is not as straightforward as we would like.”

Photos courtesy Mission Brewery Instagram

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