There are so many threads about new breweries launching, I'm losing track. And losing count - I hear 10 in planning[/quote:xxhyeqk9]
Is this all launching breweries are real breweries (means brewing they own beers in site) or some of them are contracting breweries only ?
I would suggest a clear division into real breweries and contracting ones.
Black Donkey Brewing in Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon hopes to launch by the end of this year. No stout or red ale is currently on the production schedule, and they will be bottling and conditioning all their beers at the brewery. Their website is in development, but you can currently find them on Facebook and Twitter.
As to the canning question, micro canning machines, like the one from Cask.com in Canada, are relatively affordable and efficient, the cans themselves are the problem. Most beer cans today are pre printed with their "label". European can manufacturers currently want minimum orders of 500,000 pieces for these pre printed cans. For a brewer canning 3 different beers that means 1.5 million empty cans that need to be paid for and stored before they can be filled.
Some advances are being made with shrink sleeves on to blank cans, but then the sleeving equipment itself is expensive. In the US, craft in cans is rapidly growing and the can manufacturers are willing to work with micros on smaller volumes. We just don't have the momentum here yet, even Brew Dog had to get their Dead Pony Club contract canned.
Last week, Oskar Blues in Colorado had a "can your homebrew" event, where homebrewers could bring their fermenter and priming sugar to the brewery and Oskar Blues would can it for them.
If you can stick a printed sticky label on a bottle, why can't you stick the exact same lable on a blank can?[/quote:3m9n525d]
An empty can is not rigid enough to accept a self adhesive pressure label, there's too much risk of deforming the can. After filling the can is wet and "dirty" from spilled beer, so it would need to be cleaned and dried before labelling, more machinery, more production time. Also, due to the shape of a can, labels need to be be applied with far more precision than to a bottle to achieve clean, even, full coverage. Generally speaking they don't look nearly as good as a pre printed can and not up to the standard of a premium craft product.
Shrink sleeves will probably prove to be the solution for small batch craft canning in Europe in the near term. They can be applied to empty, blank cans, one at a time, to suit a brewery's batch size.