SAXAPAHAW, N.C. -- Rebecca Spence is a true believer.
“I think we make great beer,” she says, after a session of canning the latest batch she helped brew at Haw River Farmhouse Ales in Saxapahaw.
And because they make great beer, Rebecca and the rest of the team at Haw River wanted a way to get it in more people’s hands – you know, beyond ordering a pint at your favorite restaurant or making the pilgrimage to Saxapahaw.
That’s where Tap Hopper Canning came in. They had a company that runs tours to the various craft breweries around the Triad and saw the opportunity to not just take beer fans to the various breweries, but take their brews to the various people who may enjoy them … by starting a mobile canning service the breweries can rent.
Tap Hopper’s Patrick Sanecki saw it as a way the smaller brewers, who don’t have hundreds of thousands to lay out on a canning system that wouldn’t run every day, could compete.
“I think it's kind of keeping up with the Joneses and making sure you have your shelf space and that people are able to take you with them,” says Patrick. “One of the huge benefits, now, is in the summer and the holiday season is that you can take any local beer with you, you can take it to the beach or mountains with you and not have to worry about glasses or anything like that.”
Because it’s canned, not bottled. With the fringe benefit that it protects the beer better, since it prevents light from getting to the beer – one of the biggest causes of beer spoilage.
Rebecca thinks cans are the future of craft beer.
“I feel like people approach cans in a different way than they approach bottles,” she says. “So cans are much more accessible format and people are more likely to go in and get a 4-pack and take it to the beach with them or the mountains with them and you don't have to have a bottle opener with you so you don't have to worry about breaking so they are spreading further that way which is, in turn, bringing a lot more people back.”
In a way, for Patrick and the people at Tap Hopper Canning, it was just a way to be part of a big, craft beer team in the Triad.
“The craft industry is different than any other industry that I've worked in,” says Sanecki. “It's competitive but it’s also a family and friendly environment. So everybody has the same common goal of making high-quality beer and serving the people right next door. So, when you buy cans from Hall River or from Natty's, you're supporting us, you're supporting them, you're drinking good beer and all boats float together.”
See the canning system in action in this edition of the Buckley Report.