Craft beer has gone from the "growler" to the "Crowler" to this amazing device.
Not long ago, if you wanted to take home beer from a brewery you had two options: Either they had a dedicated packaging line, meaning you could grab some bottles or cans; or you filled up one of those glass jugs known as a growler though the breweries draft lines. But a lot has changed: Mobile canning units have greatly increased the number of breweries that are able to package their beers without the hassle or expense of owning their own line. And then the "Crowler" came along, which made canning even easier: Part can, part growler, the Crowler allowed breweries to pour giant 32-ounce cans right from the draft line and seal them behind the bar. But now, an even newer system appears to be taking that process to the next logical step – standard sized 12- and 16-ounce cans, poured, sealed and sold from behind the bar!
In a video posted this week by Michigan's MLive, Dayne Bartscht, co-founder of the forthcoming Eastern Market Brewing Company slated to open in Detroit next Friday, showed off a system called the Oktober Can Seamer. This Michigan engineered and produced device, which was originally launched around this time last year, promised to allow breweries (or even coffeehouse, soda shops, homebrewers, etc) to individually can their beers in under a minute. As Bartscht explains, the only real difference between this technology and the Crowler is that Oktober's seamer can work with smaller cans, as opposed to the Crowler system which is built for 32-ounces. "We can actually can fresh beer on demand in front of the customer," explains Bartscht. He then demonstrates the system which, even while talking the cameraman through it (and making a couple mistakes), takes under 90 seconds to use.
Though Oktober Can Seamers are still relatively rare, earlier this year, the company said that, beyond Michigan, they had already sold machines in states like California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas as well as other countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Argentina and Norway. Hopefully 12-ounce cans from the tap is a trend that continues to spread.