Aside from the fun of sampling new and old beers and dinner pairings during a beer week, there are also times you can learn something new. Wait sorry, I am jumping into business without even giving you a warm up first.
So ya, we are in the middle of Kalamazoo Beer Week in Kalamazoo, Michigan (whoda thunk it). Beer Weeks are great. Games, food, parties, new releases, and of course BEER. You might not realize this but beer is probably one of the most important parts of a beer week no matter where you are.
Because of my writing schedule this year I haven’t been able to make it out to as many events as I did last year. This means I had to be a bit more selective on where and when I can go out and join in the fun. One of the events I didn’t want to miss this year was the demo of for Michigan Mobile Canning.
One of the best things about the growth of the beer industry is that growth isn’t just in beer. Sure Michigan has a huge number of breweries and the list keeps growing. But at the same time there are other areas that are now growing in order to support this growth.
Building a brewery requires a huge amount of capital, more than most might suspect. Not only do you need to have brewing, fermentation, and storage equipment, but if you want to be able to sell your beer to bars and stores in something other than kegs, you need equipment for that too.
Bottling lines not only require a large investment but they also require a large amount of a breweries precious floor space. That is something beyond the ability of most start ups. Enter the canning operation. A canning line takes up less space than a bottling line. Cans also have a few advantages over bottles.
We won’t get into the full on debate of bottles vs cans right now. That would be an entire article all by itself. But we will talk about the advantages of the mobile canning line. Now actually buying the equipment still requires a decent investment. The mobile canner helps to alleviate that cost.
Instead of owning equipment that eats up a brewery’s limited space, they can bring in the canning machine once a week and get their fills done in just a few hours. Once they are done and cleaned up they have that space back for other uses throughout the rest of the week.
Another interesting space saver comes in the form of the cans themselves. Most smaller breweries do not have the floor space to purchase the amount of cans required in a typical order. The mobile canners purchase the cans in blanks (unlabeled) and use label sleeves for the breweries that use their services.
Sadly, the machine was on display at Wayside West in Kalamazoo. Wayside doesn’t brew their own beer so no reason to fire up the beast. This is something I wouldn’t mind seeing in operation in the future.
Time for a pint…