Craft beer has revolutionized the industry and is moving out of microbreweries and into the main market. According to the Brewers Association, there were over 3,200 brewers in the United States as of November 2014. The trend shows no signs of slowing. The Brewers Association also reported that 1.5 brewers are opening daily and more than 2,000 breweries are being planned.
With such a boom, brewers are looking for ways to expand outside of their breweries and bring their products to stores shelves. When it comes to packaging, lately, the industry is trending toward the more portable can package. Consumers lead busy, active lives, grabbing a cluster of cans that can go almost anywhere is easier than transporting breakable glass bottles, which are often prohibited at beaches, parks and festivals. Cans also allow for plenty of branded space ensuring the craft brewer has a chance to make an impact on consumers. Additionally, cans are easy to recycle, allowing breweries to be eco-friendly with their packaging.
During summer 2014, Silver City Brewery launched Ziggy Zoggy summer lager in 12-ounce cans from Rexam (rexam.com). Silver City chose can packaging not only for the sustainability benefits of aluminum but also to protect the beer from light and oxygen. The brewer also wanted to provide consumers with a package that was permitted in more outdoor venues and less breakable when on the go. According to Scott Houmes, owner of Silver City Brewery, “Cans are the ultimate package for craft beer. Whether you’re barbequing with friends, boating, camping or spending time at the beach, thanks to our partnership with Rexam, Ziggy Zoggy can now be your go-to craft beer in 12-ounce cans.”
Red Hare Brewing Company is capitalizing on the sustainability benefits of can packaging by launching the first commercial use of the Novelis (novelis.com) evercan. The evercan aluminum sheet is made of a minimum of 90% recycled content. The high recycled content allows for fewer greenhouse gas emissions than manufacturing primary aluminum. Red Hare is no stranger to packaging innovation – the craft brewer was the first in Georgia to package beer in aluminum cans. Roger Davis, founder and CEO of Red Hare says, “Novelis’ evercan is a perfect fit for Red Hare. The independent certification of the closed-loop recycling process behind evercan strengthens our commitment to employing the best in sustainable business practices, making evercan a natural extension of the Red Hare brand.”
Because cans offer such portability, the Denver Beer Co. (DBC) decided to create a scavenger hunt with their packaging. Last summer, the brewer launched two of its most popular brews in 12-ounce cans from Ball Corporation (ball.com). DBC then went on to mark cans with 24 GPS coordinates in Colorado using Ball’s Dynamark printing technology. Each coordinate took adventurers to a secret location where they could take a selfie. Those who visited all 24 locations and submitted their pictures had a chance to win a grand prize.
“DBC’s customers love to be outdoors,” says Charlie Berger, co-founder of DBC. “By using Ball’s Dynamark variable printing technology, we were able to create a unique challenge that encourages our fans to go out and explore the state we love.”
Craft beer is only gaining in popularity, and it makes sense that brewers experimenting and innovating the brewing process are doing the same with packaging. As new breweries and new packaging technologies launch, expect to see more innovative collaborations between the two.