Colorado has always led the way when it comes to canning innovations in the brewing industry, whether the latest brainstorm came from Coors, Ball Packaging, Oskar Blues, Wild Goose Canning or Mobile Canning Systems. But small craft breweries have pushed things forward as well, and one of those, Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield, is taking the latest step.
In late October, Big Choice will unveil a new beer packaged in 19.2-ounce cans with a resealable lid – not the twist-off kind, but one that slides back into place so that the beer can be opened one night and finished the next.
“We tried it last year on one of our Hemlock Double IPAs. It sealed really well and held up for quite a while,” says Big Choice's Andrea Miller. “I don't know any other brewery that is using this type of lid.”
The lids are being provided by Xolution, a German company that just happens to have a sales office located in Boulder County. Although it currently specializes in the energy-drink market, Xolution is branching out into other beverage markets, including craft beer, says company sales manager Alan Teague, who lives in Boulder County and first met Miller at a Broomfield Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“Big Choice is fairly innovative, and they felt like this was something they could do,” Teague says. “And it gives us a good opportunity to show that this can be done.” Xolution, he adds, has had conversations with several craft-beer makers, as well as “all of the major breweries in the U.S.”
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The company's first beer client, however, was Miller beer's Russian operator, which just started using the lids on its cans.
The XO lid, as it is called, works by sliding off a plastic piece and popping it up. Once some of the beer is poured, you can then close the lid, which insures the beer won't spill and prevents more carbonation from getting out.
Big Choice will use the lids for Obeah, a new imperial stout that it brewed with Caribbean-style jerk spices and then aged in rum barrels. The 10 ABV brew will be sold for $11 a can at a party on Wednesday, October 21, at Big Choice. Some cans may be available afterward in a few liquor stores on the Front Range.
"The nose on it takes you back to dark, juicy chicken. It's like a meal in a can," Miller says.