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Tallgrass Brewing brings its canned beer to Colorado this week

Just weeks after Maui Brewing began shipping its beer to Colorado, another brewer that packages exclusively in cans will enter the market. But Tallgrass Brewing out of Manhattan, Kansas, doesn't have as far to go.

"It's just a little eight-hour drive," says brewery owner Jeff Gill. Tallgrass, which was founded in 2006, will sell its Buffalo Sweat Stout, Oasis Double ESB, IPA and Tallgrass Ale here.

The first shipment should arrive today.

"Craft beer drinkers are very accepting. They like to try something new, and if it's good, they will be excited about it," Gill says. Denver is a "savvy beer market," he adds, similar to Minneapolis/St. Paul, where Oasis is the brewer's number-one seller.

Tallgrass switched from bottles to cans in May, Gill says, and was one of the first to do so in the Midwest. And like Colorado's Oskar Blues, which began canning in 2004, Tallgrass has had to fight the battle for acceptance.

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"A lot of people are not aware that craft beer comes in cans, so it's tough for a smaller brewery to break the stigma with cans when you are the only one in that market that is doing it," he says. "We wanted to be on the front end of that trend in the Great Plains."

Gill says he thinks 30 to 50 percent of craft beers eventually will be sold in cans.

While Colorado's liquor-store shelves are already crowded with both bottled and craft beers, Gill believes Tallgrass will be well received. In fact, he's doubling the capacity of his brewery in order to meet demand from Colorado and other new markets.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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