The first beer to be canned will be Firestone Walker’s “805” blonde ale in 12-pack format starting around mid April.
The timing of Firestone Walker’s new canning line is rooted in market forces as well as the local landscape.
“Craft beer consumers are now embracing cans, and that has closed the gap of perceived value between bottles and cans,” said co-proprietor Adam Firestone. “We also live and work in a place where people spend a lot of time outdoors, at the beach or pool, by the lake, on the golf course or going on hikes. Cans are a practical fit for the local lifestyle.”
Like the brewery’s new keg line that launched in March, the new canning line is made by leading beer packaging company KHS based in Dortmund, Germany.
“It was the best—and most expensive—solution,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “You can make the best beer in the world, but if you run it through a substandard packaging line, you end up with a beer-wrecking machine. With this KHS line, there will be no worries about beer integrity.”
The canning line is located in a dedicated building adjacent to the brewery. It will be showcased to brewery guests via a large picture window that faces an adjacent sidewalk.
The cans will be dry-rinsed with ionized air and purged with CO2, then filled. The cans will next run through a bubble breaker to remove any air bubbles before being surface purged with CO2 to eliminate oxygen from the head space. They will then be seamed with a Swiss-made Ferrum seamer and inverted for a short period to detect any leaks as they exit the seamer. After a final rinse, cardboard carriers will be auto-assembled around the cans. At full speed, the canning line will produce 400 cans (12-ounce) per minute.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located in the Paso Robles wine country on California’s Central Coast. The brewery specializes in iconic pale ales and vintage barrel-aged beers. Firestone Walker Brewing Company was awarded Mid-Sized Brewery of The Year honors at the 2007 and 2011 and 2013 Great American Beer Festivals┬« as well as Champion Mid-Sized Brewery honors at the 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup┬« competitions.