Canning Machine Crazy - Perks of getting your own Canning Line

From our travels between breweries across the South West, Niki and I have been able to build relationships with several breweries and join them on their journey. Over the last two months, something we have taken note of is the number of independent breweries biting the bullet and purchasing their own canning line. This is no small investment, with a decent canning line costing anywhere between £20-£90k depending on the size and level of sophistication!

As big craft beer fans, this in itself is very reassuring and shows that in the current crunch time climate we’re in at the moment, some breweries are deciding to double down and bring canning inhouse. This solution isn’t suitable for all breweries, but for those that have made the plunge, we want to take a greater look at why they may have done it and what it means to the end consumer cracking open the good stuff.

  • Experimental: Having a canning line means breweries can get beer to customers quicker and we’ve seen breweries taking advantage of this by frequently trialing new brews and getting them out to customers every couple of weeks! 
  • Shorter Lead Times: It will take time to get the system set up, but once the canning team is trained and rolling you don’t have to deal with the standard lead times outsourced canners demand which have been longer than usual this year given the circumstances.
  • Consistency: With the increase in demand for contract & mobile canners and very busy canning schedules we have heard some horror stories about exploding cans and mismanaged beer. By canning inhouse you’d hope to eliminate most of that risk.

  • Space: Many of the breweries we have had the pleasure to meet are in very cosy buildings, normally filled up with brew kits. Unless they have a handy Narnia wardrobe I can’t see a canning line slotting in anywhere. 
  • Cost: Canning machines are a significant cash outlay. It’s no doubt a big risk, but if the market and finances have been worked out accurately, it has the potential to be reep rewards in the long term.
  • Pressure: If you’d just forked out for a new piece of kit you’re going to want to maximise its use. We’re not sure whether this is a pro or a con, but where you could relax a little once you’d outsourced your canning, if you’re the owner of a canning line you’re going to thinking about how to use it next (limited edition brew, contracting it out to other breweries... ) 

As with last month's article on the canning vs bottling question there's loads to discuss. Hopefully we’ve built on that and given you an insight into the decisions breweries have to weigh up if they decide the can is for them.

With a case of cans weighing a ⅓ less than a case of bottles and arguably better preserving the beer, should breweries turn against their loyal bottle loving traditionalists, or push on with the growing trend? Who knows? We want to hear your opinion down in the forum below.


Information taken from:

& as always from chatting to our lovely brewery friends!