Friday, April 23, 2010

The Canifesto

Like every other industry, craft beer is no stranger to trends. From going crazy with hops to aging in bourbon barrels, there's always something new that initially takes fans by storm and is completely overdone 6 months later. One trend that may weather the storm is canning beer, and we're about to see quite a bit more of it in Kansas City.

This afternoon, Tallgrass Brewing Co. out of Manhattan, KS, released their "Canifesto" on Twitter and their official (redesigned) site. Reciting a story involving one of their rural customers looking for a way to return/recycle cases of empty bottles, Tallgrass is looking to minimize their environmental impact while also likely seeing a decrease in cost. Tallgrass will be going to market with larger, 16oz cans that they hope to have out in stores this May. The Wine & Cheese Place out of St Louis recently reported word that Schlafly will have their Summer Helles available in 12oz cans this summer.

You can already find a number of canned craft beers in the Kansas City area. Breweries like Caldera and Ska have various brews available, while some of the larger breweries like New Belgium and Leinenkugal have single offerings like Fat Tire and Summer Shandy, respectively. Restaurants are even getting into the act, as Prairie Village's BRGR Kitchen & Bar has an extensive list of craft and mass produced beers available in cans.

While some people may debate that beer tastes better from a bottle, a lot of people will tell you the beer should be poured into a glass regardless. Can technology moved from risking a metallic taste a long time ago. As the craft beer industry continues to grow, it's important for our regional breweries to find ways to minimize the impact on both environmental and financial resources. Compared to bottles, cans weigh significantly less while blocking out larger amounts of light and air. The days of cans being filled only with cheap swill are quickly fading. Time to get your koozie ready and enjoy a summer of canned, craft refreshment.


  1. Had the Ska Modus Hoperandi in cans and it was outstanding...and fair priced too. I think the Caldera is awful pricey for what you get.

  2. Depending on who you ask, lots of hops in beer either started with Sierra Nevada in 1980, Rogue in 1988 or Vinnie Cilruzo's double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994. Bourbon Barrel aging started with Bourbon County Stout in 1992.

    I think both of these "trends" qualify as here to stay.

  3. Thanks for the history lesson, but one brewery starting/popularizing a style is not the same as when a multitude of breweries begin doing it and cause an upward trend.

  4. And you being aware of something in Johnson County Kansas is not when a multitude of breweries started doing it.

    There would have been easily 100 bourbon barrel aged beers and easily 1000 beers more heavily hopped than anything boulevard has ever made 10 years ago.

  5. It's a good thing I write for the KC Beer Blog and not the Beer World News then. Maybe I should stop reading sites that misinform me with opening lines like "Continuing the barrel-aging trend of late..."

  6. John~ It's not like Boulevard was the only craft brewery accessible to Kansas Citians 10 years ago. The intensely hopped and BBA beers that are in the market now is certainly a trend. I'm talking IIPA, imperial IPA, imperial red and all other overly hopped, unbalanced and underattenuated messes. You're telling me that if a good portion of English breweries started brewing gruit, that it wouldn't be a "trend" since that beer was brewed for centuries in the past? Don't be so daft. Goose Island started with Bourbon County Stout back in 1994 (not 1992) in celebration of their 1000th brew. Great. That certainly doesn't indicate a trend at that time. I'd love to see your evidence of the "100 bourbon barrel aged beers" from 10 years ago what were worth a shit, because I doubt you could find 100 that are, today.

  7. Bourbon County Stout was at the GABF in 1992.

    If you think there weren't red IPAs and imperial IPAs ten years ago (and lots of them), that's fine. They were all over the West Coast then, all over.

    It might be new to the Midwest but that is just another example of a trend making it here late, which is different than a trend having just started when it got here.

    I don't like most bourbon barrel beers. That doesn't mean they are a recent trend.

    Hey, when I turned 21 10 years ago I thought all this stuff was wild and new too. Since then I have learned that people are predisposed to thinking everything is a trend when they simply lack an understanding of what has happened in the past.

  8. Chimpotle: There is a difference between calling barrel aged beers a trend and suggesting that they are a 6 month old trend. Loosely speaking, that which is not stagnant is trending. Just by virtue of the growth of the craft beer segment, hoppy beers, barrel aged beers and wheat beers are increasingly offered by new breweries (or old breweries that are trying new things).

    To suggest that either hoppy beers or barrel aged beers are "new", that either trend has gone from genesis to overdone in "6 months" and that trends that have been around in the US for 15-20 years and in the case of barrel aging in Europe for centuries are not "here to stay" is absurd.

    If it was meant as hyperbole, then I misread. If it was meant as vaguely close to accurate than you are just flat out wrong in your characterization of the length of existence and staying power of these trends.

  9. It's safe to assume that everything I say is hyperbole.