Happy Birthday, Italian Stallion!
Last year, we inaugurated our new canning line: a big, shiny new line direct from Italy, we dubbed it at the time “The Italian Stallion.”
Now that Sly has a year under his belt, we refer to the line a little more formally as the “CFT”.
And, as expected, it’s been a VAST improvement over our previous line, meaning that we’ve had the capacity to can up the demand we’ve seen for our summer lineup of beers, including The Bog, Tan Limes, Crushin’ It, and The Grove.
When we installed the new line last year, Packaging Manager Mark Graves was definitely looking forward to an increase in the quality of our brews.
“Growing up as we are as a company, we wanted to take a step up in our quality,” he said at the time. “I think this is a huge, huge step in that direction.”
And it’s proven to have a strong impact on our quality.
“Since adding this filler,” Mark says, “the speed and quality of our beer coming out have been unmatched. Our beers, especially hoppy beers, have less oxygen ingress than anything we have packaged before.”
The old line wasn’t all that bad. The oxygen levels were fine, they were simply inconsistent.
“You could pull a can off fill head 4 one time, see that it’s fine, and then thirty seconds later, pull off the same one and get a slightly different reading,” Mark explained last year. “It was hard to track, hard to pinpoint, hard to improve upon.”
Ultimately, our fans reap the benefit.
“Our beers truly shine right off the bat,” Mark says. “They last longer on the shelves and in customers’ hands.”
Mark’s found that the new line is about two-and-a-half times faster than the original line. To put that in perspective, last year, our packaging guys would max out around 1,100 cases a day. Now they’re doing 2,000 cases each day with ease.
And, since everyone who used to drink our beer in bars before the quarantine now drinking at home, we’ve definitely needed it. Before Memorial Day weekend, they worked their fingers to the bone to get a record number of cases packaged for your drinking pleasure.
Over the past year, this workhorse has canned up:
- About 4,917,000 cans
- 204,875 cases of beer
- 200-240 sixty-barrel tanks worth of our beer
We’ve really got to give it to our folks in packaging. In the time of year when the brewery starts getting really hot — if it’s 80° outside, it’s pushing 100° in the brewery — and everyone is wearing masks for safety, they’ve been pushing themselves to the limit to get our beers out into the world.
While things are going great now, if things don’t pick up soon for bars and restaurants, the worst may still be ahead of us and other businesses in summer seasonal towns. As Ryan mentioned in a recent interview, our business is cyclical throughout the year — as many of the bars and restaurants we service are only open for the summer months, without them, we’ll be in a very different position. It’s simply not possible for us to make up all of that kegged volume in cans.
We’re all hoping for a swift and safe return to a modified normal, but we realize that it can only be achieved if we continue to work toward stopping the spread of this virus.
In the meantime, if you happen to know or see any of the folks in the packaging department, give them a hearty pat on the back.
And buy them a beer. They deserve it.