Beginner’s Guide to Canning: What You Need to Know

From Twin Monkeys Beverage Systems, here is a walk-through of the key questions you need to ask before investing in a canning system for your brewery.

Twin Monkeys Beverage Systems (Sponsored) Jul 16, 2020 - 6 min read

Beginner’s Guide to Canning: What You Need to Know Primary Image

In this ever-changing landscape, canning is more important than ever. There is a lot to consider before canning your beer, and at times brewers are overwhelmed by the number of variables they need to consider to make the best decision for their business.

Here are a few things you should make sure you are thinking about:

Cans, cans, cans. What size? Who are you sourcing them from? What lid type? Can you get the desired size easily? Should you label or shrink-sleeve them? These are all the questions you should have answers to, at a minimum, before looking for a canning system.

There are so many questions about when is the correct time to investigate cans. The answer is always, "sooner rather than later." When we are looking to configure a canning system, we design the system based on the can and lid specification. Small differences in lid choices can mean configuring the canning system with different parts. It is important to know that before purchase, as it can drastically affect lead time if changes need to be made afterward. Most canning companies have lists of canning suppliers that can help breweries source the cans they need.

Should a brewery always start with mobile canning? Mobile canning often is the soft entry for brewers into the canning process. While it can be cost-intensive at times, it offers a low-risk trial to see if canning is a worthwhile investment for the brewery. The added benefit is that if a brewer decides to purchase a system of their own, they often already know what cans, lids, and labeling they will be using for their product. This information is crucial to have before committing to a canning system. Having this information ready greatly reduces the stress of the process for most canning.

What is throughput, and why does it matter? Throughput is the amount of material passing through a system. In the canning industry, it is most often quantified as cans per minute, or CPM. Knowing what throughput you want on the machine is key to making sure you get a machine that will meet your needs. A simple way to assess this is how many barrels per batch you plan to can, and how many barrels per hour a particular machine can handle. For example, our Gunnison model cans three barrels per hour. If you are planning on canning seven barrels at a time, you would have 2.5 hours of canning plus and hour for setup and an hour for cleanup at the end. All together, you would be looking at a 4.5-hour day of canning. Even if you plan to can more of your product due to COVID-19, you would have room for six to nine more barrels per day, for an eight- to nine-hour canning day. Most brewers find it helpful to put the throughput needs into this sort of equation.

Set a budget. Budget is often the deciding factor in a decision on a canning system. It is important to have an idea of what the cost difference is between the base model of a machine and the total cost with add-on features, shipping, crating, and service. If you are planning to rely on financing, they sometimes require a quote for lease/financing approval. Also, it is helpful to know that most finance companies take from a few days to a week to submit a down payment, which can affect lead times.

Consider the space available. This is one of the factors that tends to get overshadowed by the exciting features of a new canning system. However, it is a big deal. It is important to have a general idea of the size of the space that you plan to can your beer in. If you can supply that to Twin Monkeys, we will even provide a CAD drawing to enable the brewer to get a visual idea of the scale of the canning equipment in the available space.

Purchasing a canning system is a large investment for most breweries, and at Twin Monkeys we understand the care that goes into that decision. We are happy to help get you the information you need to make the best decision for your business. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it is our business model—now more than ever—to be the partner you need on making a decision that will get your business on its way to packaging your product.

As the landscape changes for the brewing industry, and packaging takes center stage, we are committed to helping craft breweries make the most of this new world.

Looking for more helpful information on canning? Our blogs are a great source. Check them out here.