A Mobile Canning Company Is Packaging Small Breweries' Beer for Free During the COVID-19 Outbreak

"If you are a brewery in Colorado and have liquid stuck in tanks we will come and can the beer at no cost," says Codi Craft Canning.

Yesterday, the craft beer trade group the Brewers Association (BA) released the results of a survey that found 99 percent of the over 600 breweries that responded had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Maybe the other one percent are making beer for self-consumption?) As a tiny silver lining, bottled and canned beers may see a slight uptick in sales as people stock up, but what about breweries that don't package their products? America now has over 8,000 breweries, and many of the smaller ones rely on a taproom model, selling the bulk of their beer on draft right on the premises. In theory, these kegs could also be sold to bars and restaurants, but if the coronavirus forces everyone to close, all this beer has nowhere to go.

Small Brewery Beer Canning Coronavirus
Andy Kirby / Getty Images

However, in Colorado — where dine-in service at bars and restaurant was halted on Monday for 30 days — a mobile canning company has come to the rescue. Over the past half-decade, mobile canning has emerged as a way for smaller breweries who opt against paying for their own packaging line to get their beers into aluminum (which itself has become the hip way to sell brews). These traveling beer canners load their machine into a trailer and go brewery to brewery to give them a way to sell beer to-go beyond growlers. Typically, breweries pay for this beneficial service, but the coronavirus outbreak has caused at least one company to change its tune: Golden, Colorado-based Codi Manufacturing is currently offering up mobile canning for free to local breweries in need.

"It's a stark reality," Luke Smith, owner and founder of Coda Brewing — which is also in Golden and took Codi up on its offer — told 9 News Denver. "We've got 40 kegs in the cooler. What're you going to do with all that? A restaurant can't buy it, we can't drink it all, although we'd try."

"They need to sell 99 percent or more behind their own bar. Since the bar is closed down, to-go sales are the only option," Codi Manufacturing's Andrew Ferguson explained to the news station. "If they're going to get shut down for weeks or months, this is their last chance to generate a lot of revenue to hold everyone through these bad times."

"The beer would go bad, it would spoil and we would go under," Smith continued. "I probably wouldn't make it unless him and his guys were here to can our beer… Codi is going to save small mom and pop breweries that receive the majority of their sales over their bar by putting their beer in cans."

9 News says that though beer lovers can't currently drink-in at Coda Brewing, the brewery will be open weekly, Wednesday through Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. selling canned beer to-go (as well as merch and gift cards). Meanwhile, yesterday, Codi Manufacturing posted on its Instagram page saying, "If you are a brewery in Colorado and have liquid stuck in tanks we will come and can the beer at no cost to your brewery." (The brewery has to pay for the cans.) Just email Codi's sales team.

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