Canadian Packaging

Craft Beer gets canned

CROWN and BrewDog bring Scottish craft beer to cans as a packaging leader helps enhance offerings with development of a new filling line.


September 23, 2015
by Canadian Packaging staff

Philadelphia—As the craft beer revolution continues to gather momentum, demand for aluminum cans as the packaging format of choice for brewers is on the rise in the U.K. and throughout Europe.

The need to accommodate the requirements of craft producers outside of the mainstream has been recognized and embraced by CROWN Bevcan Europe & Middle East, a business unit of Crown Holdings, Inc. In response, the company has partnered with Scottish brewers BrewDog, plc to develop a new 400 cpm (cans per minute) filling line in the company’s Aberdeen, Scotland production center.

BrewDog spearheaded the rise of craft beer in the U.K. and is listed in The 2012 Sunday Times Fast Track 100 as the fastest growing food and drink company in the U.K., exporting to over 55 countries and boasting a global portfolio of 26 bar franchises.

The new packaging line allows for BrewDog’s premium branded beer Punk IPA to be packaged in 33cl (330mL) and 50cl (500mL) cans, as well as its three main brands Dead Pony Club, This. Is. Lager. and Jack Hammer to be canned in the 33cl (330mL) format, and has the capacity to include further brands in the future.

The can is the perfect choice for craft brewers as it affords a wider range of options when compared to other packaging formats. The protection cans offer from light and oxygen is also crucial, as it ensures that the beer reaches drinkers in the same condition in which the brewer intended—something that is of paramount importance to BrewDog.

Craft brewers are also increasingly turning to metal packaging as a means to better differentiate their brands on store shelves, making full use of the 360-degree billboard a can offers.

BrewDog selected Crown as its development partner in Aberdeen due to the latter’s ability to offer cutting-edge pre-press and print technologies and unrivaled customer technical expertise.

The team is working with BrewDog to create innovative and striking packaging design concepts and then quickly bring them to market.

New cans will be developed with Crown’s soft touch varnish finish—a tactile effect that reduces the reflectivity of metal over the whole surface of the can, giving the product a premium look and feel while reflecting the uniqueness of the ingredients within.

All design creation, pre-press and proofing activities for BrewDog will take place at Crown’s European Design Studio. Located in Leicester, U.K., the studio serves as a one-stop shop for brand owners across the EMEA region.

BrewDog director of special ops Martin Dempster says, “We see cans as the ideal packaging for craft beer. Its ability to keep the beer fresh and to retain its unique flavor is what attracted us to this format and the team at Crown has made it possible for us to move forward with this very quickly.”

Dempster continues: “Within the wider drinks industry we are a relatively small player, but Crown’s technical service team tailored training and support for us and made the whole process feel like a partnership from start to finish, in the same way it would for a global brewer. It is this bespoke treatment and its obvious passion for the can, and the industry, that put Crown ahead of its competitors for us.”

In addition to providing the packaging itself, Crown has provided added support and expertise, offering flexibility with order sizes and facilitating line support. Historically, minimum order sizes made it difficult for craft brewers to justify packaging in cans, but Crown has diversified in order to accommodate the needs of the craft brewers in this area.

Brewdog_3Other services offered to BrewDog include a 360-degree review of its operation, from security analysis to package integrity, helping to maintain filling lines at optimum speeds with minimum downtime. In addition, Crown’s comprehensive training for operatives and engineers gave BrewDog the necessary tools to carry out changeovers themselves, quickly and efficiently.

“Our Customer Technical Service team has established an excellent relationship with BrewDog,” says CROWN Bevcan Europe and Middle East marketing & business development director Matt Twiss.

“BrewDog chose to work with us following a series of discussions, throughout which their team was able to see that our approach is one that echoes its own views that the can is the obvious, and most sustainable, choice for packaging craft beer,” states Twiss. “Crown has a legacy of leadership in the craft brew sector and is strongly passionate about this fast-moving, innovative industry. We love being a part of such a rapidly expanding, exciting sector and our work with BrewDog will help it to expand its operations and to support the next level of growth.”

Craft beer has seen extensive growth in the U.S. and Canada in recent years, which has driven its popularity around the world. It is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down and the U.K. is already beginning to follow in these footsteps.

For more information on BrewDog, visit www.brewdog.com.

About Crown Holdings, Inc.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Crown Holdings, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of packaging products for consumer marketing companies around the world. Crown makes a wide range of metal packaging for food, beverage, household and personal care and industrial products and metal vacuum closures and caps. As of December 31, 2014, the company operated 149 plants located in 40 countries, employing approximately 23,000 people. For more information, visit www.crowncork.com.


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