Kamloops Brewery Ltd. (Kamloops, BC, Canada) has always been known for their hand crafted fine ales and lagers, with brands like their Original Pale Ale and Black Bear Ale, as well as the Whistler Brewing Company brands. Each batch is handcrafted with the care and patience of their head brewer. So why would they go against the norm and put those critically acclaimed brews in cans? www.kbbeer.com
More people are choosing beer in a can. Nationwide, sales of canned beer are up 10% over last year (2007 mid year report, Brewers Association of Canada). This is a sales trend that industry observers say isn’t about to change any time soon. At the same time, bottled beer sales are down 4%. Many U.S. states already reflect this growing consumer preference with 80% of take home beer sales in cans.
This trend is one of the reasons that Kamloops Brewery has added their second canning line, “Our customers are demanding convenience and portability”, says George Cziglan , head brewer and spokesperson at Kamloops Brewery, “They want to be able to take our beer with them when they go camping or boating or enjoy them at outdoor events. Cans are easier to handle than bottles. Plus a lot of venues don’t allow glass. And our sales prove that.
After one year, 60% of our packaged sales were in cans (from zero the previous year), and I expect that we will hit 85% in 2008.
Kamloops Brewery has always seen cans as an important part of their marketing strategy.
In the past it was difficult for smaller brewers to afford the large half million dollar plus canning lines used by huge brewers like Miller or Budweiser. However, thanks to a canning system designed and built in Calgary, Canada by Cask Brewing Systems, smaller brewers are now able to tap into the can market.
“Now any microbrewery can package heady beer in cans with the same attention to quality and their craft as they could kegging or bottling. For under $100,000, Cask offers a fully automated canning line that operates at speeds of up to 70 cases of 24 per hour,” states Peter Love from Cask Brewing.
Kamloops Brewery launched their first Bowen Island Traditional Lager and Irish Cream Ale in cans in April, 2006. “Sales on existing cans have been going very well” states George Cziglan, “We were very excited about adding a second canning line. It gives us the flexibility to add more brands easily and extra production, all at a reasonable price”.
Cask Brewing Systems offers affordable canning solutions for the craft brewing industry and small scale packagers worldwide.