Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Should Yazoo switch to cans?

(Don't forget to vote ----------- > )

Our next big project is going to be increasing our packaging line speed. Right now, we're running it five days a week, and the slow speed of our old six-head Meheen filler is holding up the rest of our brewing process. It's going to be a pretty hefty investment in new equipment, so now's the time to ask the question: Should we continue in bottles, or make the jump to cans?

Before you say the obvious answer (Do both!), let me say a few things. First, when you get into any kind of packaging, you start off by buying a whole lot of packaging materials at one time. For instance, when we started packaging our beer in bottles (two years after we opened by the way), we had to buy truckloads of glass bottles, cardboard boxes, six-pack carriers, paper labels, label glue, metal crowns for the bottles, etc. The amount of money you have to invest in just packaging materials, upfront, means you have to move a significant amount of beer every month just to make the numbers work.

If we decided to start canning, there would of course be the upfront investment in the new equipment. But on top of that, we'd have to buy 8,500 cans of each brand we canned. That would be a huge hit to our cash flow. So for us to start canning, it would only make sense to make the switch completely. We couldn't afford to both can and bottle our beers.

In a lot of ways, cans are a much better package than glass. They are impervious to light, while even a beer packaged in amber glass will get lightstruck and skunky if left in sunlight for a short time. Cans are more readily recyclable. Almost 45% of all cans are recycled, while only a small percentage of glass bottles are. There is an active market for recycled aluminum, while there is not much demand for recycled glass right now. Cans are much lighter than glass, so the fuel costs of getting the glass to the brewery, and out to the market, is less. Cans are welcomed in places where glass is not - beaches, golf courses, parks, etc.

For us, cans are pretty attractive. Our packaging components would be a can, a lid, a six-pack ring, and a cardboard tray, most of which can easily be recycled. Compare that to bottling, where you have a bottle, cap, label, six-pack carrier, and cardboard case box, with almost none of those items ever being recycled.

But... the big question is, "What do you think about it?" If you saw a big, beautiful pack of Yazoo Pale Ale tall-boys at your local grocery store, would you buy it? Please take the poll over there to the right, and post a comment!

109 comments:

Peg Leg Porker said...

Definitely Cans

JimBellizzi said...

First off, I think everyone loves that you ask your audience for their opinions. I voted go for cans because it seems the better option for Yazoo, based on how you were describing it. Honestly, whatever is best for Yazoo is my answer. The most important thing is the beer stays the same quality, which is kinda a "duh." If it works for you guys I'm sure most if not everyone is behind you!

Anonymous said...

I believe glass is the quickest turnaround on recycling, generally returning to a store shelf within 30 days (as opposed to about 60 days for aluminum). Also glass never wears out and can be recycled forever unlike other materials.

Anonymous said...

Cans to me mean less quality and make me think Bud Light. I like micro-brews in a bottle, and really don't want to start drinking my Dos Perros in a can. I'd pay extra for a bottle!

Nicole Phillips said...

It seems like cans could possibly be a better option in the long run (after all of the initial costs), however I must say I've always been hesitant to try a new beer that's in a can. Something about it seems cheap and sort of tacky/cheap vs a beer out of a bottle, and I go into it preparing for the beer to taste like water as many other canned beers do. (all that to say, I go into a canned beer with lower expectations). I wonder how many people would be willing to give it a shot for the first time? If other people feel that way, it's also possible that cans would not be more beneficial in the long run. Therefore, I vote for bottles, but regardless of what Yazoo decides I'll be supportive and continue purchasing it! I'm just proud Nashville is the brewery's home.

Tyler said...

I also associate cans with a lower quality beer. But I haven't ever had a good beer in an can either!

DJ B said...

Yes, if you do it right. We were in Grand Cru and looking for something to start our road trip to the Panhandle and their beer guy Bill suggested a sixer of Dale's Pale Ale - in cans. After I rolled my eyes, he gently informed me that their lined cans made all the difference in the world - and he was right. A nice crisp brew with no tinny aftertaste. I don't know how much extra that adds to production costs, but if they can make it work Lyons, CO, you can do it here. I'd bet a nickel you already know Dale, but..
http://www.oskarblues.com

Mark Wood said...

I'm all for cans. One of my favorite non-Yazoo beers, Dale's Pale Ale, comes in a can. And while glass can be recycled and returned faster than aluminum, far more people recycle cans than glass.

BryanY. said...

I too tend to associate cans with lower quality beer and am hesitant to purchase them. I would love, however, to see the switch made to standard non-twist-off bottles, so they could be recycled by homebrewers.

Anonymous said...

the switch to cans totally makes sense, and i don't mind drinking out of them.

BUT

i think it could really hurt sales of your beer, particularly in stores, as a lot of people are hesitant to try premium canned beer. the bottle remains much more attractive to a lot of people, for some reason.

Brad said...

CANS!!!

Even though I won't be able to reuse your bottles for home brewing, I love the idea of buying a local beer packaged in the most efficient means.
I also like the prospect of changing the perception that only crap beer is packaged in cans. Take a look at 21st Amendment, Oskar Blues, hell even New Belgium has started canning.
Maybe it's just the contrarian in me, but isn't that what small scale, artisanal brewing is all about?

adamauden said...

Canned Beer = Screwtop Wine 5 years ago.

It's better all around than the traditional packaging but has a marketing effort to do to shake it's current reputation.

Right now I love drinking my Yazoo from the bottle, but would have no problem pouring it into a glass if that's the way you go.

Would a move to canning not be viable on a brand by brand basis?

Anonymous said...

If you could do both, I say go for it...I like the enviornmental aspect of it, but on a personal level, I've never enjoyed beer out of a can.

Aside from the fact that beer in cans is typically reserved for the worst of our country's shitty, mass-produced piss-beer, even good brews (Fat Tire is the one that springs to mind) never taste the same out of a can, and if cans are the only option, I usually opt for non-beer. The beer might stay the same, but the aluminum alters the taste of whatever you put in it, whether it's beer or soda or any other beverage that ends up in it.

I'm probably in the minority as a beer snob, but I can't imagine ever opting for cans over something else I can get in bottles.

Jason P. said...

My vote is for cans.

Diana said...

Dale's has shown me that canned beer tastes great. I love buying beer in cans because it saves on the number of trips I make to the recycler. Also, cans would distinguish you from 95% of all the microbrews on grocery shelves. And for those who don't like drinking from a can... Y'all should be decanting your good beer into a proper glass anyway!

Lucas Hendrickson said...

What about some Bud Light-esque aluminum bottles? (So unbelievably kidding...)

I'll admit...I'm a beer snob. But because the technology has gotten better (liners, et. al.), I don't have any problem with you guys considering cans.

(Truth be told, I have more of a bias against short bottles vs. longnecks than I do bottles vs. cans. Granted, that hasn't stopped me from buying Yazoo sixers, but that bias does exist.)

I think we're starting to see the slow influx of good beers in cans (Dale's, the Caldera line, New Belgium, etc.), and yes, it would take some reorientation of thinking (and shelf space), but considering so much of Yazoo's fan base doesn't have ready access to glass recycling (thanks, Metro!), the turnaround argument is kinda moot.

Plus, the thought of a Hop Project tallboy makes me a little bit giddy.

Dustin Moore said...

Yes to cans, a thousand times yes.

How better to destroy irrational biases against cans than by filling them with fantastic beer? I would love to see Yazoo in cans, whether it be 12 or 16 oz (though I'd be most excited about the pounders).

Cans are becoming a big factor in the craft beer scene. Oskar Blues has had tons of success, big breweries like Brooklyn are starting to can their flagships with great success, and both Surly and Half Acre (in MN and Chicago) are doing great after starting to put their beer in 16 oz cans. It's time someone down here in the South got the ball rolling.

IN addition to the reasons Yazoo listed, it should also be noted that modern cans are lined, which means they have 0 effect on flavor, despite perceptions to the contrary. And while glass my have a quicker turn around time, the problem in Nashville is that glass isn't eligible for curbside pickup while aluminum is.

Mike said...

I usually get my Yazoo in growlers so go with whatever is best for the company to stay in biz providing good brews.

Wingnutz said...

Cans!!! Seems like a no-brainer to me. If you want to drink out of glass, pour it into a pint glass. To say beer tastes better in bottles is ridiculous. New Belgium's canned beer is way better than the bottled stuff. It's time to buck the "bottled is better" trend. Unless you want to be a sheep.

hoboing said...

I am all for the can, and think that it would be a wonderful addition to Yazoo. The use of cans for beer has been on the rise and while some reasons for its popularity are fashion, it is also the perfect vessel for delivering good beer. The cans today are not like the cans of yesterday. They are lined with a water based epoxy which eliminates the so called “metallic taste”. Unlike the bottle a can is air tight and helps protect the finished taste. The can also keeps beer in the dark so it won’t get skunked. Cans are lighter and easier to transport than a bottle (they don’t break). This makes them a better camping companion and also helps reduce overall transportation cost. Since it is easy to recycle cans then cans are more likely to end up in the recycle and not the rubbish. There are many other valid arguments for the can and while I also enjoy the bottle I am by all means a can man.

josh & brian (beerschoolblog.com) said...

we're huge fans of cans! dale's pale ale is fantastic in a can. caldera puts theirs in a can...and it's delicious. also, if it's best for yazoo to can, then can away! we'll drink it and tell everyone about you either way.

for those who associate cans with cheap beer, get over it and try caldera or dale's or any other great beer in a can. and why not smash that stereotype anyway?

16 oz tall boys of yazoo pale would blow our minds!

Anonymous said...

Yes you can!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with all the pro-can folks. It just makes sense from a quality and environmental standpoint.

And as others have said, both oskar blues and caldera use cans without sacrificing quality or taste.

Anonymous said...

I am all for "Hop Project tallboys"!

Yes to beer in cans!

Anonymous said...

For those who think good beer can't come in cans, go pick up a sixer of Oskar Blues Dale's Pale or Calderas IPA (or any of the other stuff in our market from these two brewers.) I feel pretty assured that you would quickly change you mind.

Courtenay Rogers said...

I will buy your beer no matter what it comes in. But, I am actually a huge fan of cans from the recycling aspect. And I think it is fun to be all dressed up, drinking out of a tallboy. It is the little things in life....

Josh said...

I agree that as a beer snob, can ring of lower quality brews like PBR and bud light than bottles...

stick with the bottles!

JonEric said...

It's my opinion that you should be asking the people you want to start drinking Yazoo what they think:)I would still buy and recommend Yazoo beer in cans because I already know the quality is great so long as it's not served in a boot. It's how the Yazoo virgin decides what to drink that will effect your volume. Just my 2 cents, I'll shut up and drink up now.

Anonymous said...

I second the comment about cans = screwtop wines. Time are a-changin' and microbrews are just the ones to start a grass-roots trend or good beer in tine cans.

Anonymous said...

Cans so I can take them to the racetrack. WOOOO!

Cherith Cutestory said...

I say cans. Nashville doesn't recycle glass yet, and we can crush the cans and drop them curbside for pickup. Plus, I like the idea of the beer tasting better from a can, which is the main reason I get the growlers (less shelf time, exposure to light, etc.).

Pants on the ground said...

Yazoo Tallboy? Yes, please.

Oskar Blues seems to have the market cornered on premium beer that only comes in cans. Make the switch and take them on. I'll still keep filling my growlers either way.

Linus said...

Wow, lots of great comments so far. Some good points mentioned that I forgot to include: 1. The cans today are lined with a tasteless, water-based liner that leaves no taste behind. 2. Cans today are made of only aluminum, no tin. 3. Even parts of the country that have curbside recycling of glass have stockpiles of it that they can't sell, because the price is so low it doesn't make sense to ship it anywhere. 4. Unless I'm mistaken, both glass and aluminum can be recycled indefinitely.

Cheers,

Linus

PS Don't forget to vote! I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to add a polling function to our blog!

Jennifer said...

I understand the financial and environmental pluses for cans, and they are huge. Woo recycling! But as a person who works in marketing (specifically liquor and beer marketing) I think that moving to cans too soon will hurt your image in markets that aren't Nashville.

While Yazoo can do no wrong here, and we all love you to death, the can as "cheap beer" opinion is still rampant (can beer conoisseurs aside - yes Dale's and Oskar are both delish).

I say... more bottles, then when you've grown, you will have the demand (and money) to do both! I certainly understand the financial outset of packaging - design and production, but don't paint yourself in a corner too early and cater to only people who research their beers and don't make impulse buys...I don't think I've ever just picked up a canned beer to see if its delicious....I pick those up because they're cheap.

All the best Linus and Neal.

Mallory said...

I agree with Jennifer above. As a loyal Yazoo drinker I'd drink it no matter what it came in, but I would be worried about the perception from Yazoo virgins. To the casual beer drinker, cans=cheap.

Anonymous said...

I say go with cans.

When discussing the "casual beer drinker" that thinks cans equal cheap beer, most of them are just picking up the same BMC products in the bottles instead of the can.

bargles said...

I had the same initial thought as many other thinkers: dale's pale ale. dale's pale ale isn't just a great beer in an aluminum can. It is defined by the fact that it comes in a can. For those that understand the preservation advantage of cans, it is an attractive feature. For those that don't, great beer in a can is a cool ironic gesture, like wearing a goofy vintage tshirt.

Be brave. Go with the can

JT said...

I think what sells Yazoo beer today is the fact that its local and a really great beer. I don't think it'll keep anyone from buying it just because its in a can. Those that love it, will continue to drink it. And by being in cans, it'll help you stand out to attract new drinkers.

I say go cans!

Justin Davis said...

I'm all about it Linus - the benefits of cans are pretty stellar. I know that we've chosen canned beers (Oscar Blues, etc.) over bottled when considering going to the beach or pool.

Plus, cans in a craft beer section tend to stand out - a little competitive differentiation possibly?

(That said, some craft beer drinkers may need to be trained out of thinking that "canned beers are bad")

Don Else (DPElse3) said...

REAL craft beer drinkers know that beer in a can is the same beer as in the bottle. If we can drink a Guinness draught in a can... Only novice, faux craft "drinkers" will question the vessel, and they'll switch back to swill no matter what. Plus, Yazoo has a large, loyal following, with people clamoring for it in ALL the periphery states. Increased production capacity: increased exposure: expanded distribution: more sales; Neil hires Don as his assistant marketing guy.

BryanY. said...

Just a follow up, lots of those epoxy based can liners contain BPA. I'd have to switch completely to growlers if that lining wasn't BPA free.

Smitty said...

Because of the light issue, lower dissolved oxygen levels, recycling benefits, etc.- I vote for cans.

Anonymous said...

beer in cans just doesn't taste as good. i wish it did, but it doesn't. i drink some cheap beer and i still try to avoid it in cans because aluminum doesn't taste good. also, we always recycle glass bottles at our house, either for use in home brewing or by taking them to the recycling center. people have mentioned some lined cans that keep the beer tasting as good and that might be a way to go, but i wonder how that lining would effect recyclability.

Craft said...

Viva la CAN! I definitely vote yes for switching over to cans. With 80+ craft breweries in the US canning their beers (and growing) the market is there! Besides, you guys would be the first to do so in the state of Tennessee!

http://craftcans.com/usbeermap.php

Cheers!

Russ @ www.craftcans.com

Anonymous said...

It seems like cans is the best option if you're really trying to increase your throughput. For me, as a consumer and beer-lover, there are some important questions to consider:

1) Is there any change in beer quality? I have tasted beers(especially pales) that seem to taste metallic. Also, the bottle-conditioned Hefeweizen might have a vastly different smoothness and taste. I'd be less concerned about Dos Perros or some of the specialty brews.

2) Plastic rings. Are there more biodegradable varieties of these plastic rings? There have been significant developments on this front(see sandwich baggies), and I would hope that Yazoo might be a leader on this front. I'm perfectly willing to pay an extra 25 cents a six pack for that piece of mind.

Sincerely,

Yazoo Beer Lover

Robert said...

From a business prospective i think its a calculated risk, but bold move to switch to cans. In the long run, it will set you apart from most beers as an early adopter of cans for craft brews. Let's face it, oskar blues, has separated itself from the rest of the market not only because they make a great beer but because they are only one of a few the can their beer. People like me buy Dales because we like can beer and it's the best on the market currently. Personally, i think Yazoo's portfolio of beers beats Oskar Blues portfolio of beers from a taste prospective and has the potential to match or beat their market presence if you switch to cans. I am all for it!

PDMan said...

I agree with the above comment about taste. Maybe it's just my perception, but whenever I drink beer from a can that's not super cold, I think it starts to taste like the can. Naturally, I want whatever's best for the beer, but I will rarely ever buy canned beer - even when I have a choice, I'll buy a cheap beer like PBR in the bottle.

Anonymous said...

I'm cool with cans. We'll still mostly stick to filling our growler. But, is it possible to reuse glass bottles, instead of recycling? That's what they do in Europe -when you buy a six-pack there, you can tell which bottles have been reused because they are scratched. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I'd be happy to bring my glass bottles back (instead of recycling them) if y'all can reuse them.

bluesandbarbq said...

Although I like the bottle, in the long run CANS work better. Longer shelf life, easier storage, better recycling, easier to cool quickly. I pour my beer in proper glassware so either form is good for me. But CANS seem to be the trend and best way environmentally.

Anonymous said...

I rarely look at anything in a can when I'm beer shopping - I just think bottles are more appealing in the way they look and feel.

Mary VV said...

I appreciate the environmental impact argument, but have to say I think bottled beer just tastes better than canned.

I am saving up my Yazoo six pack cartons to bring back to you, and currently take the bottles to the recycling center. Any chance you could reuse bottles if they are returned there?

James said...

I think cans are awesome. Oskar Blues "Dales Pale Ale" is one of my favorites. You can also take it to the pool where glass is not allowed.

When I am at home, I pour it in a glass, let it breath for second and then can't tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

The 'beer in cans tastes bad' argument is really unfounded. Buy something like Fat Tire that you can get in both a can and bottle, pour them both into a pint glass, and you won't be able to tell the difference. To those who don't like beer from a can, how do you feel about draught beer? It is just beer from a giant can.

Brad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad said...

Can we do both but not fully? Can the big 5 and then bottle the special runs like Sue and the seasonals. Make them special and still use the equipment you already have and way less bottles.

joshua Scutella said...

I think it's a great idea. We are seeing an influx of good, canned beer in our market. We brought in Caldera and Butternuts plus Avery is canning this month as is Boulder. Lets not forget about the great breweries that can and we don't get in the market:

Surly- Bender, Furious, abrasive etc
21st Amendment - Hell or high watermelon, Live or Dies, monks Blood
Half Acre- Daisy Cutter
Good People (soon)- Pale, Brown, Oatmeal coffee, hippie IPA
Tallgrass- IPA, Talgrass Ale, Buffalo Sweat and a Pils
Southern Star- Bomb Shell Blonde, Pine Belt Pale and Buried Hatchet Stout
Sly Fox- Pikeland Pils, IPA, Wheat and Pale
Plus a few more! you get the point.

PrimoPaul said...

Cans sound like the way to go. They are better for the environment and the economy. The stigma of cheap beer comes in a can is getting less and less. New Belgium's Fat Tire comes in a can and it tastes great. Most of the time I pour canned beer in a glass at home anyway. Go for it.

Anonymous said...

Cans? Yes, please.

The stigma is changing, while the taste should stay the same. New Belgium, Blue Moon, Saranac, Oskar Blues, Cisco Whale's Tale, Harpoon ALL are canning beer and they're selling quite well at least here in New England.

It may take a little nudging for the jaded, but people will come to their senses...

I love the comment above about screw-top wine bottles. So true!

Anonymous said...

Linus,
When will we have a verdict?

Anonymous said...

Sierra Nevada doesn't do cans because it takes chemicals to sanitize the aluminum which is against their green policies. What are Yazoo's policies on using chemicals to make beer?

Anonymous said...

Sierra Nevada doesn't do cans because it takes chemicals to sanitize the aluminum which is against their green policies. What are Yazoo's policies on using chemicals to make beer?

Zach said...

Would love to take my Dos Perros out on the golf course, but i don't think cans would be the best for the brand. Some premium beers have done well in cans (Fat Tire), but I agree with the above post that it would be difficult for someone to try Yazoo for the first time if it was sold only in cans. My 2 cents.

Linus said...

Hmm - let me answer Anonymous' comment about chemicals. Most breweries in the US sanitize their cans or bottles just before packaging. The cans or bottles have not been used before, so the sanitizer doesn't have to be super aggressive. We use chlorine dioxide, which breaks down pretty quickly.

I can't speak knowledgeably about Sierra Nevada and why they don't use cans. For all I know they may be considering it too. But I believe all breweries use chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing their equipment. And I bet if you ask them, Sierra is using some kind of mild sanitizing chemical on their bottles just before filling them.

Anonymous said...

put it in cans and then convince southwest airlines to sell it onboard :)

RJT said...

My preference is for both bottles and cans. You'll appeal to a wider audience and sell more beer. Everyone wants bottles until they're headed to the golf course, pool or sailboat, and then they want an option to buy cans. There are times when I look for microbrew in a can and I only have 2 or 3 options. Plus you can create multiple packaging options and panelize your displays on the shelf... better marketing displays sell more beer.

lowbit said...

I voted bottles but that was a knee-jerk reaction. After reading some of the great comments here, I believe my bottle bias is outdated. I'd certainly be open to cans done right. It is just a bonus that I wouldn't have to haul bottles down to the Green Hills drop off every couple of weeks.

Jim Compson said...

Here's the real deal the metallic taste is not from the inside of the can it's from the crap on the outside of the can, dirt, mold and so forth. Next time you try a canned product take a damp paper towel and wipe the can off. You will be mortified how much crap you wipe off the can. The lid of the can is like a bowl and picks up unwanted stuff. They don't seal the outside of the can. I would pour the contents of the can into a glass prior to enjoyment, if possible. I don't think you can do both in a "production" type environment where the 80bbl needs to go into a container. I think you should keep the bottling line to do special beers, like Sue, in bottles but everything else in cans.

Anonymous said...

What if you asked all of your clients to return their glass bottles and figure out a way to sanitize them and reuse them (like homebrewers do).

You could be "green" and keep bottling.

Anonymous said...

What if you asked all of your clients to return their glass bottles and figure out a way to sanitize them and reuse them (like homebrewers do).

You could be "green" and keep bottling.

Stephen McClure said...

BPA in most cans would keep me away from them. Glass is probably the only safe and financially viable way to sell commercially.

Chris said...

Cans for many reasons! Better for the beer. So many craft brews now available in cans around the country (Oskar Blues, New Belgium, 21st Amendment, Sly Fox, Breckenridge, Pyramid, Butternuts, Surly, Caldera, Blue Mountain, Ska, etc.). Cans take up less space and weigh less, meanning more beer ships per pallet spot. Better shelf life. Labeling looks brighter on the shelf. Much less waste in packaging. Easier to re-pack broken cases. Greater versatility for consumption (beach, pool, race track, backpacking, etc.). And, it'll get it to Virginia faster!

Will said...

Most definitely cans. Much easier to pack in and out of camping or kayaking trips. That and I find that they can be slightly easier to cool in a pinch. And as far as preserving flavor. Brown glass does block out more than 90% of beer skunking sunlight, but cans block out all of it. I mean Oskar Blues and New Belgium look like they're on to something.

Tammy said...

Personally, I don't drink beer from cans. I'm sure it's all in my head, but it doesn't taste the same to me. Yazoo is my favorite, but I don't think I'll buy it in cans. Sorry!

Ear and Beer said...

Cans seem to make the most sense. They block out sunlight meaning no skunkiness; therefore, longer shelf life and fresher taste. They also have less headspace than bottles, so less oxidation. You can also distribute more per weight than bottles, and can take them to many places that glass is not allowed (concerts, parks, beaches, bonnaroo, ect...) However, I think the main thing to conider is taste and I think a 2 month old can of Yazoo Pale compared to a 2 month old bottle of yazoo pale would retain the hop character longer and taste fresher. Who knows what conditions bottles have gone through to get to stores, like how much light exposure there has been, how much heat, how long ago they were bottled (if no date on label), etc... With cans you don't have to worry as much. There are stores here in Nashville and other markets that have their beer displayed right in the window. To help avoid against this kind of error at different markets, cans may better protect the beer. Also I definately think it could be done for all of the main line of beers (maybe with the exception of the bottle conditioned hefeweizen, but not sure, there may be a way), and specialty ones too. Rye Saision without question, but with SUE, if Oskar Blues can put an imperial stout and a double IPA in a can, I wouldn't think canning SUE would be a problem at all. I think they may look cooler too. I voted cans!

MT Road said...

Cans would work here....

Anonymous said...

Good article in Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/alissa-walker/designerati/real-can-do-attitude-more-microbreweries-saying-no-bottles

Tracy at Village Pub said...

Go for cans. Cheap beer will always be cheap beer, and whether or not you bottle or can it, you know what you are getting and you get what you pay for. Yazoo is in NO way a "cheap" beer, and canning it will not take away from the great quality of beer you are drinking. I think the labels will look great on cans and be eye-catching to the consumer. As a bar owner, we already sell 4 canned beers (Guinness, Boddington's, Yuengling Lager, and Ashland Ale) and no one has a problem drinking these fine beers. Linus, go for it! We will sell it (and drink it!!)!

grizzlebees said...

How about making growler refills cheaper and more accessible? I know its hard to get places to fill a growler due to crazy beer laws in the state. However, at $8 a refill (is that still the price?) it is cheaper to buy a $7.50 or $8 6-pack from the store. Math wise, I think, growlers are .88 of the amount of beer in a 6-pack (64 oz in a growler, 72 ounces in a 6-pack), but yet a refill costs more. We're paying a luxury tax for the novelty of it. This encourages more 6-pack consumption and more waste. Seriously, is my math wrong here? I would love to go the growler route if it made more sense economically.

Jeremy Pickett said...

I say cans because its the trend now and they are more eco-friendly as well as cheaper in the long run. Comming from a fellow brewer it's easily the right choice.

Linus said...

Thanks for all the input y'all! This is obviously a topic that people feel strongly about (80+ comments so far?!). We are still weighing all the pros and cons. Upgrading our slow packaging line (and if you ever have taken a tour, you'll remember thinking "That's it? They bottle all their beer on that thing?") is going to be a expensive project that will take some time, and before we commit to sticking with bottles, we want to give cans some serious consideration. I'm going to leave the poll up for another month or so, so feel free to weigh in with your vote and opinion.

Linus

Anonymous said...

I like cans for the pool-ability of them. But, really... whatever works best and is most economical for you all works for me. The beer inside is what's important!

Anonymous said...

As to the "cans=cheap" discussion here, I'm guessing most of you haven't tried Oskar Blues beer, or any of the other fine micros that have switched to can...

PatBattle said...

The beer not tasting good in a can discussion is pretty dated. There was a time where that was true, but the modern cans do not leave the metallic taste.

As someone said... take a Fat Tire from the can and from the bottle, pour into pint glasses (as you should any time... straight from the can or bottle? ehh...), and tell me which is which...

bcbingman said...

Environmentally - makes sense. Quality of beer - makes sense. Perception of quality of beer - maybe doesn't make sense, but can with some education/good marketing. Distribution - would cans allow Yazoo to more easily distribute further outside of the southeast? If so, definitely makes sense from that perspective too.

Frank said...

I would take the plunge to cans. I keep riding my bike to your brewery and filling up my growlers because I am trying to enjoy quality beer while generating no packaging waste and creating no carbon footprint. I know many of your customers are similarly environmentally aware. If you are heading somewhere where taking a growler is impractical you can put cans in a backpack and take them into the woods, to the swimming hole, etc. If you are at home, once you pour a can of beer into your favorite drinking glass you can't tell whether it came from a can or a bottle. I seek out Oskar Blues products when filling a cooler for an outdoor activity. I would do the same for your beer in cans.

Frank said...

I say switch to cans. I search out craft brews in cans whereever I go. They are much easier to take with you outdoors. If you are at home you cannot tell the difference between a can or a bottle once you pour it into a glass. Oskar Blues it onto something and I really think the decision to switch would pay off in the long run.

Audrey W. said...

Since you're mainly distributing in Middle Tennessee, and glass recycling is rare or non-existent, I think cans would be a great idea. The beer snob in me says "NO!" but the practical side of me says "Yes" to cans.

91 said...

Please don't switch to cans. Your Pale Ale is my favorite beer but I just don't like the way canned beer tastes. I'll continue to buy it from a keg but I'll probably switch to New Belgium (sold in both bottles and cans).

Buffalo Phil said...

I think you should take the short-term hit and get canning up and running but definitely keep the bottled product. Beer in a bottle is better than in a can (to me). Personally, if Yazoo is available only in cans, I won't get it from the grocery store. I only buy beer in cans when I have to and at the grocery store, I don't have to. And typically, all the beer in my fridge is Yazoo.

Anonymous said...

Beer in a can does not taste different than it does in a bottle. Pour it into a pint glass, and see for yourself. It's all in your heads, people. Seriously. Go buy Fat Tire in both, and have someone pour them for you.
And this: "I'll continue to buy it from a keg." So giant cans are ok, but small ones change the taste? Hmmm. Doesn't seem to compute, honestly.

YazooInTexas said...

Southern Star and Oskar Blues have found some success with cans, but some of their success probably comes from the novelty of craft beer in a can. Personally, I can't bring myself to pay $9 for a six pack of canned beer. Blame Bud Light.

Anonymous said...

Cans please. For numerous reasons. 1. Nashville doesn't recycle glass through the curbside recycling program. 2. Cans can be brought many places glass cannot. 3. It's easier to "Pack Out" cans. 4. Dale's Pale has already proved that craft beer in cans..........works! 5. Everyone else is doing it....ie. Schlafly, New Belgium.

Nathaniel said...

Can. From the perspective of an AZ (West coast) transplant living in GA (East coast), I'd say canning would be a wise and popular investment. I know of not one Southeastern canning brewer. If you can it, I will come (to buy).

nate said...
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nate said...
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nate said...

For those that think Canned means poor quality or taste, go out and pick yourself up a six pack of Caldera or Oskar Blues, canning has come a long way and just because bad or cheap beers do it, that doesn't mean it is a bad thing.
Not only can a quality brew like Yazoo taste great in a can but it also makes it much more convenient to pack in your beers and pack out your trash when doing activities like hiking, kayaking or just taking a cooler to park.

Anonymous said...

No cans! Please keep the place classy. Cans are for bud and coors.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of can votes here but remember the audience. Joe Shopper is having a BBQ and wants to buy a 'good' beer for his guests. He's not a 'beer connoisseur' like the people that are posting here. He'll reach for bottles every time. Whether the taste is the same or not, it's perception that sells the beer, and for that matter, the taste. I agree that cans will let you take it more places, but please don't give up the premium image of bottles. If you can do both, please do.

cambria said...

please switch to cans! better for the beer and the planet.

Anonymous said...

Just one point of view...if your beer was initially in cans, I would have never purchased the first one.

nate said...

To those so opposed to beer in a can and think it will ruin the taste, have you ever had a draft beer? Kegs are not glass lined.

Anonymous said...

True kegs aren't glass lined... but kegs aren't aluminum either. :P Regardless if taste is affected, I prefer bottles except when I'm drinking natural light, coors, or bud. You don't see many premium beers in a can. I simply can not imagine drinking any Yazoo beer in anything other than a bottle. This is especially true with the Hop Project. The thought of a can of IPA just sucks.

Anonymous said...

On Beer Advocate the 50th ranked beer in the world is a canned IPA. Just because most micros don't can, doesn't mean it affects taste.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/13014/28203

Anonymous said...

Cans. Their are some great comments posted here about the success of Oskar Blues and 21st Amendment in cans. Also, the comparision of screw cap wine and micro cans is quite valid.

As far as packaging, check out the link below and look what Shiner does with their canned beer. Very attractive on the outside. Double stacks in the beer refrigerator at the grocery store.

http://i25.tinypic.com/10fxq54.jpg

Drew said...

Bottles. BPA is a concern in cans. If you are trying to increase recycling make the switch to non twist on bottles and let us bring you the bottles back.

Anonymous said...

I would drink YAZOO! out of a shoe!

PatBattle said...

Interesting article on the subject... Canned Beer Is The Future of Good Beer

david.alan.jensen said...

Would cans limit your ability to do limited production runs or seasonals? Growth of product line and distribution should come first over bottles/cans.

If you can afford to do cans and still come out with new beers, then do cans!

Nat said...

Article about Oskar Blues that is pretty darn convincing:
http://beeradvocate.com/news/3360913