Canning: Endless Growth Opportunities for Craft Beverage Companies

For small-scale craft beverage producers, selecting the best beverage packaging for their product is crucial and often challenging. Post-pandemic, more than ever, canning has emerged as an advantageous option that can catalyze growth for artisanal brands. Canning has always been an integral part of the craft beverage industry, and ABE Equipment has worked tirelessly over the last several years to expand our beverage canning line offerings. From our early years of focusing on automatic beer canning to now accommodating any beverage, ABE offers a suite of beverage canning equipment built to be your partner in generating the profits your company deserves.

The Demand for Canning

Recent data indicates strong demand for canned beverages from craft alcohol makers and non-alcoholic craft brands like cold brew coffee, energy drinks, tea, and soda. Specifically for beer, a 2023 Brewers Association survey found that 59% of America’s craft breweries focus on craft beer canning, which increased from 46% in 2018. According to the Brewers Association, the portion of canned craft beer reached 15.7 million barrels in 2022, rising over 80% since 2015. Similarly, canned ready-to-drink cocktails from micro-distilleries saw a whopping 112% growth in 2022. All these findings show that consumers thirst for convenience and a variety of canned beverages.

Benefits of Canning

Canning provides many obvious benefits to both consumers and craft beverage producers. At the top of the list is mobility. A 2023 American Craft Spirits Association report showed that 64% of canned craft beers and ciders in the U.S. are consumed in locations away from home, such as niche outdoor events and settings that attract craft beverage consumers. Furthermore, the portability of cans allows ideal sampling opportunities at farmer’s markets, street fairs, music festivals, and summer concerts. Canned beverages also translate to gains in seasonal locations like poolside bars, vacation rentals, beaches, parks, and summer camps. For craft brands, having products readily accessible and portable for patrons is pivotal. In addition, for places where on-premises draft beer is becoming more crowded, making it more challenging to secure a draft line, adding a canned brand is much easier to sell.

Environmental advantages are significant in the craft beverage space, where sustainability resonates strongly with patrons. A 2023 Aluminum Association survey found that 87% of craft beer and cider consumers are more likely to purchase cans because they are recyclable and have recycled content. Being good environmental stewards helps attract and retain customers.

Canning Equipment Options

For small producers, the barriers to integrating a canning line in-house have lowered significantly. Minimum can-run requirements have decreased, with compact beer canning systems available starting under $40,000. For example, check out our CraftCan Go. Not only does the CraftCan Go feature a compact design, but it can easily switch between atmospheric canning lines to counter pressure-filling, making it versatile for whatever beverage is being packaged.

Craft beer canning lines save substantially on overhead and labor costs versus bottling lines. Canned products have a longer shelf life than bottled products, allowing for broader distribution. With faster changeovers between production runs, canning enables small-batch seasonal, limited-edition, and custom releases. Investing in craft beer canning equipment can boost your business’s efficiency and profits. The increased revenues generated by the faster canning capabilities will allow the beverage packaging equipment upgrade to pay for itself quickly. With multiple options for upgrading production capabilities, adding canning machinery represents a promising growth opportunity.

The Future of Canning

According to a recent Craft Beverage Expo survey, 83% of craft beverage makers plan to expand distribution reach over the next three years. For these companies seeking to grow their customer base and geographic coverage, adopting canning will significantly expand prospects in 2024 and beyond. The benefits perfectly align with many artisanal brands’ values, aesthetics, and needs. With consumer demand on the rise, now is the time for craft beverage producers to realize the full potential of canning.

ABE Equipment’s canning machines and other beverage packaging equipment options vary in price and production capacity. If you want to add a canning line to your beverage production equipment or upgrade an existing canning line, contact us at 402-475-2337 for a quote. Visit our Canning Lines page to learn more about our CraftCan Canning Systems and various other products, such as our FlipRinse Can Rinser or Autopak Can Carrier, perfect for adding can handles to your 4 or 6-pack cans.