A local company is making it easier to can, sip, and enjoy.
A number of issues ago, we shared a story about the Can Van. It didn’t have much to do with the local craft beer scene, but it was such a great concept and interpretation of technology in beer that it needed to be shared. Well, not longer after we published that, a similar business model started showing up in our own backyard, bringing this West Coast fad to the streets of Philadelphia.
We Can is based out of Danville, PA, which is a few hours west of Philadelphia, but they are making regular trips out to the city to fulfill the canning needs of local breweries. With their trailer in tow, Pete Rickert, Jr., brings a mobile canning line to your brewery with absolutely everything you’ll need, aside from the beer itself.
We Can keeps a steady stock of blank cans readily available. You can choose to label them however you’d like, if at all. One option is the sleeve-type label route used by Manayunk Brewery, which are heat-shrunk on, encasing the entire can and giving it the appearance of being printed. Without excessively examining the can for flaws (typically a slight bunch or bubbling), it is hard to even tell this isn’t a direct print. We Can even heats the sleeves onto each can before arriving for packaging day. Sticker-type, pressure-sensitive labels are also another option. No matter which option you choose, We Can handles all of the warehousing for you. They’ll keep inventory of all your labels or even your cans if you take the route of having custom printed ones.
All the brewery needs to do is let them know how many cases to bring. The We Can team, usually three people, find a small open space in the brewery and set up their equipment. Keeping to themselves, two at a time, they fill as many cans as desired until the job is done. Don’t let the two at a time fool you, they have the process down to a science, and it moves along much quicker than one would expect. When they’re done, the beer is cased and six-packed, piled up on a pallet and are ready to go out and reach new markets for previously draft-only breweries.
Unlike some other mobile canning units, We Can also services homebrewers. They obviously won’t drive the truck to fill a mere 5-gallon batch of homebrew, but they do hold canning days for homebrew clubs. They’ll pull the trailer up to the likes of Keystone Homebrew and homebrewers can have their homebrew, as long as it’s at least a 5-gallon batch, filled into cans. Cans of homebrew is almost unheard of, making this a really unique opportunity for avid homebrewers, especially for those looking for better ways to transport their beer for sharing.
Pete Rickert, Jr., is constantly working to improve and bring a more superior mobile canning system to breweries. With regular openings of small breweries with limited space and funds, this seems to be a developing concept that should be around for quite some time, giving the makers of this fine beverage a chance to watch their beer leave the brewery in a much longer lasting vessel than a growler.