A Minneapolis brewery whose star is on the rise is now canning its most popular beers for the first time.
56 Brewing opened as a tiny brewery in 2015 that offered growlers to go, but it didn't have a taproom. Then this spring, it opened a taproom and larger production brewery in northeast Minneapolis.
This has given them the space to start canning their beers, making them available to even more people. This marks their first foray into broader distribution as the brewery looks to grow even more in the future.
– 4 questions: A flight with 56 Brewing
The brewery says these two beers are the most popular among taproom drinkers. Nose Hair Bender is described as having a citrusy, tangerine aroma and finish, while Northeast Nectar is a sweeter, light-bodied ale that's made in partnership with local beekeepers.
The canning trend
Craft brewers have long relied on two packaging formats – bottles and draught, the Brewers Association said in 2015.
Bottles are still the most popular option, the Brewers Association said in January. But over the past few years cans have become more common, thanks in part to the idea that they can be brought to more places than bottles can, as well as the diminishing stigma that canned beer is cheap and doesn't have much flavor.
Ryan Petz, the CEO and co-founder of Fulton Brewing in Minneapolis and a member of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild board, told GoMN last year he’d guess probably about a quarter to maybe half of Minnesota’s more than 100 breweries offer at least some of their beer in a can.
But that hasn’t always been the case. Petz said back in 2009, when he started Fulton, only a couple of breweries were canning. Now, Petz said, it seems like the newer breweries are starting exclusively in cans – and the ones that have been around longer are canning at least a portion of their production.
The same trend is seen nationwide, with the Brewers Association reporting smaller craft breweries are canning more often than larger craft brewers, and are choosing to start out with a canning line instead of a bottling line.
In 2011, the Brewers Association said about 2 percent of craft volume was in cans, but by 2014, it had increased to 10 percent of total craft volume.