The canned craft beer revolution started in Lyons in 2002 with Oskar Blues, and although Colorado is still the leader, we don't yet have metal to match our mountains.
That will change in late July or early August when the Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista becomes the first craft beer maker in the state to roll out sixteen-ounce tallboys.
"That will be part of our niche," says Eddyline head brewer Scott Kimball. "The market is so competitive, you have to differentiate yourself somehow."
Several well-known craft brewers across the country already use sixteen-ounce cans, including New York's Brooklyn Brewing, Surly Brewing in Minnesota, Tallgrass in Kansas, Nevada's Buckbean Brewing and Sun King in Indiana.
Eddyline, which was founded in 2009, is undergoing a major expansion, moving its brewing operation to a larger facility in Buena Vista, where it will open a tasting room and operate a wood-fired pizza oven. Its current location will remain as a restaurant.
The brewery, which makes beers with outdoor-themed names like Drag Bag Lager, Crank Yanker IPA and Kickin' Back Amber, is also ditching its three-barrel brewing system for a much larger ten-barrel system, which will provide beer for Buena Vista and for its sister restaurant in Socorro, New Mexico.
The canning line will come from Boulder-based Wild Goose Engineering, which broke into the business late last year when it provided a system for its former Boulder business park neighbor Upslope Brewing. Earlier this week, Wild Goose delivered a line to Breckenridge Brewing and plans to deliver a system to Aspen Brewing as well.
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Eddyline's canning machine will be able to do thirty cans a minute -- meaning the brewery should be able to provide the Arkansas River Valley and eventually Denver and Colorado Springs with plenty of tallboy six-packs. Kimball says the six-packs will be priced about the same as a sixer of twelve-ounce cans from other craft breweries.
"If you are going camping or on a river trip, you might as well take tallboys because they all crush the same, and you get more beer that way," he adds.