Monday, August 30, 2010

Avery Brewing goes canning

Avery Brewing Co. of Boulder is the latest craft brewery to get in on cans.

At 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, Avery will release four of its beers in cans: Avery India Pale Ale, White Rascal, Ellie's Brown and Joe's American Pilsner.

Avery has no doubt watched with interest as their Colorado brethren Ska Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues have seen surprisingly strong sales from their own canned craft beers.

I have long been a vocal Avery supporter; I think it's probably one of the best breweries in the country. If the move to cans means wider availability of some of their beers, I'm all for it.

At first, Avery's cans will be distributed only in Colorado.

"We've been fielding a lot of calls lately about our plan for the distribution of cans," Avery spokeswoman C.V. Howe said in a recent newsletter. "To start, all cans will be sold exclusively in the state of Colorado. Only a tiny percentage of our overall production is devoted to cans, so there just isn't much to go around. We hope to amp up production and slowly increase distribution at some point in the future."

With the exception of the pilsner, these beers are already available in bottles in Durango. The IPA is exceptional - one of my favorite beers, period - and those who appreciate Belgian-style witbiers will love White Rascal.

I had a Joe's American Pilsner at Avery earlier this summer, and was much impressed. It's a very clean, flavorful summer beer. (Incidentally, it was also the choice of Avery founder Adam Avery on the day I was there. He rolled up on an expensive-looking road bicycle and ordered a pilsner).

The can craze continues unabated. Some of it is no doubt about sales. Cans are also cheaper to ship. And there are some environmental benefits, as well. (Although can supporters seldom note that bauxite for cans is mined in an environmentally atrocious manner, nor do they volunteer that can linings typically include BPA, a chemical with unknown but possibly pernicious effects).

For the consumer, cans are easier to transport, especially outdoors, and I like that they take up significantly less room in the refrigerator and recycling bin. Perhaps some cost savings are being passed on to consumers, although they are typically priced as high as bottles.

But the bottom line is we all have more choice as craft-beer drinkers. I look forward to welcoming Avery cans, and especially the new pilsner.

Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing

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