While we’re not comfortable picking our favorite customers (or beers or children), there is one Cask brewery customer we’re especially proud of: The Alchemist. Founded in 2003 by John and Jen Kimmich, the 60-seat Waterbury, Vermont brewpub lived up to its name by combining water, malt, hops and yeast into a new form of liquid magic: the New England-style hazy IPA. How’s that for iconic?
Eight years after opening, the brewery decided to conduct more of its namesake wizardry by pairing its juicy, draft-only Heady Topper with metal. Aluminum cans, to be exact, with the amalgamation done on a Cask Automatic Canning System in the Kimmich’s first production/packaging brewery. It still gives us goosebumps to talk about it. Better still, the cans rolling off that ACS sported a novel request for consumers to drink the beer from the can.
The first Heady cans turned out to be especially vital: just two days after they began canning, the couple lost their original location to a devastating flood. Today that ACS has filled nearly 20 million cans of the now legendary Heady Topper and a few other beers. In 2016 The Alchemist purchased a second Cask system (the ACS X2) for a second brewery (with a tasting room and event space) in Stowe, VT. That system has focused on canning Focal Banger, the brewery’s highly revered and hazy double IPA, and other canned creations.
Along the way, the brewery (a B-Corp with a big philanthropic heart) has done great things for its community and the taste buds of Vermont beer nuts and beer traders/seekers around the globe. This video documents that uncanny success and John Kimmich’s hearty appreciation for Cask and our pioneering canning gear.
This summer our kinship with The Alchemist is conjuring up more excitement. To bolster the supply of Heady Topper, the brewery just fired up a new Cask Flex2 system at its Waterbury brewery location. (Ooh, that’s another rush of goosebumps up our back.) Stay tuned for Part 2.