Bemidji Brewing is the latest Minnesota brewery to start canning.
Currently, the only way to drink Bemidji Brewing beer at home is to buy a growler or howler in the taproom. But the brewery announced on Facebook Sunday it'll be releasing two of its beers in cans this summer – the German Blonde and India Pale Ale.
You'll be able to find the cans by July 1 in the Bemidji, Park Rapids and Walker areas, Bemidji Brewing says, noting it'll keep people updated on future plans to expand distribution or can more beers.
The brewery opened an expanded brewery and taproom last summer, which allows it to brew 1,200 barrels annually (up from 450 barrels), the Bemidji Pioneer reported last year.
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 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 fall 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.