The Can Van Brings Beer Canning to Breweries

5 grad students get the mobile beer canning service rolling

The stigma of canned beers is fading fast, as brewers and drinkers alike are realizing the benefits of cans over bottles. Cans are lighter than bottles, making them both easier for customers to carry, and cheaper to ship. This means that for the same price, breweries can ship more cans than if they were shipping bottles. Cans are also eco-friendly, being the most recycled container, and are allowed more places, such as parks and beaches. Most importantly, cans shield beer from the light and oxygen that affects their taste, and keeping the product fresher longer.

Currently, 179 breweries in America have caught on to the craze and can their beer. But it’s not so easy for the smaller breweries. Because the minimum order for cans is typically 100,000 cans, most breweries, especially smaller ones, don’t have the space or the resources to can their own beers. Plus, bottling can be a tedious, time-consuming endeavor.

Enter The Can Van — a mobile canning service that caters to the niche of small breweries that want to produce more beer but can’t afford the expensive equipment. Five students at the Presidio Graduate School Sustainable MBA program joined forces and created The Can Van for their final project. "The original idea came from me talking to my dad living in Alaska, where the waste and environmental issues of bottles are a big concern because of the geographic remoteness," said Jenn Coyle, one of the Can Van founders, in an interview with Co.Exist.

The trailer, furnished with customized canning equipment,travels to the brewery and hooks up directly to the tanksand orders and provides the cans and labels. Their equipment cans 36 cans per minute, which totals 30 barrels a day at full speed. Rather than printing logos directly onto cans, which would be another expensive process, they order the labels and attach them around the cans the same way you would to a bottle.

Spearheaded by COO Lindsey Heremma and CEO Jenn Coyle, The Can Van has achieved great success since launching in January, with clients including Devil's Canyon Brewing Company, Pacific Brewing Laboratories, Mill Valley Beerworks, and Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery. While they are currently serving the San Francisco area, they may be traveling up to Oregon to help out a few breweries up there. "People are definitely interested," said Kate Drane, the company’s chief marketing officer, to the East Bay Express. "For us, that's wonderful." They hope to be expanding their services to other cities in the future.