Warm weather is here, and for Colorado brewers, that means it's can season.
This weekend, Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder will become the latest beer maker to roll out the aluminum when it begins filling sixteen-ounce cans of Hoppy Boy IPA. The cans of the brewery's flagship beer will be marketed as Tall Hoppy Cans -- or THC.
"We got 100,000 cans to start with -- that's about 4,000 cases -- and we're hoping to go through them at a rapid rate," says brewery owner Bob Baile.
To do it, Twisted Pine recently bought a canning line from Boulder's Wild Goose Engineering, which is making a name for itself in the industry just a year after it started focusing on canning lines for breweries. The line can do 45 to 60 cases per hour.
Baile considered hiring Mobile Canning, which travels to small breweries to can their beer for them, but decided to jump into canning all the way.
Twisted Pine will also wrap up a renovation project on June 1 that will double the size of the brewery from 6,000 to 12,000 square feet, allowing room for the canning line and some new fermentation tanks. Baile also plans to double the size of the tasting room and kitchen by July 14, in time for the brewery's seventeenth anniversary.
"This is the most exciting time in our history," says Baile. Although Twisted Pine will brew 5,000 barrels of beer in 2012, he adds that he doesn't want the business to get too big: "Our slow growth is by design. I never want to be a mega brewer."
Hoppy Boy will be sold in four-packs, and if sales go well, Baile will start canning a second beer -- possibly its Raspberry Wheat or a Belgian beer -- next year. It will continue to bottle its other beers, like Ghost Face Killah and the Artisan Ale series.
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The canned craft-beer movement started in 2002 when Oskar Blues started canning its Dale's Pale Ale; Oskar Blues will celebrate canning's tenth anniversary this fall. There are now more than 25 Colorado beers using aluminum, with more on the way.