Innovation in the world of craft brewing goes beyond just offering different types of beer. It also means offering craft beer in different sizes, for extra convenience for your customers.
CrowlersTM are growing in popularity—after all, they’re one of the best ways to enjoy a craft beer. However, there are some additional benefits to offering Crowlers to go that every brewmaster should know.
Laws Around Taking Beer Cans and Crowlers to Go
Before you even think about offering Crowlers as an option for your customers, it helps to brush up on your local regulations and make sure your customers can take beer to go.
You may need to update your licensing to be able to sell 32 ounces of beer in a single can. Some states also only allow a certain ABV percentage in beer sold over certain quantities. However, the rules can be quite murky, and some counties and towns are still dry or only allow reduced-strength beer to be sold in grocery stores.
Ultimately, as long as you’re able to sell beer cans and Crowlers within your area, you should be safe to proceed with opening up the new potential revenue stream.
Benefits of Offering Crowlers to Go
In addition to offering normal 12-ounce or 16-ounce cans in your brewery’s cooler, offering Crowler cans to go allows your customers to take home even more of their favorite brew. Here are some additional benefits, both for your customer and your brewery’s business.
Higher Price Point
Compared to the more standard 12-ounce cans, the 32-ounce Crowler naturally commands a higher price point. In turn, they also offer a wider profit margin than their smaller cousins—which is great news for your brewery’s bottom line.
While canning is a great way to preserve your beer’s freshness, a Crowler machine allows your customers to bring home craft beer in a can, right from the tap. While providing beer cans from the cooler also allows them to bring fresh beer home, Crowlers can be canned right on the spot, meaning there’s no need to wait before purchasing—and no time for the beer to spend losing its freshness.
Even more, the freshness Crowlers provide is leagues ahead of its growler and howler predecessors. These more traditional glass bottles and jugs only keep beer fresh for a few days before it goes flat due to light and oxygen exposure.
Crowlers beer cans hold the same amount as a typical 32-ounce howler bottle, without the hassle of having to remember to bring the bottle back to your brewery. Instead of having to make sure the bottle is properly cleaned before bringing it back in for a refill, your customers can simply purchase a new Crowler and recycle it when they’re done.
While Crowlers might seem like they’re trading convenience for sustainability at first, they’re potentially better for the environment than growlers because the aluminum cans are easier to recycle and won’t simply be thrown out like bottles typically are.
How Long Do Crowlers Last?
Under good, refrigerated conditions, and proper filling processes, Crowlers can stay fresh for up to a month. While smaller cans tend to last longer than Crowlers, this is still a noticeable departure from the very short shelf life of craft beer in glass growler bottles, which typically only last a few days.
However, because Crowlers are sterilized and sealed with carbon dioxide like normal-sized beer cans, they can still retain their freshness for weeks after you finish seaming your Crowler can and hand it off to your customer.
While we recommend suggesting your customers use their Crowler within one to two weeks of purchasing it from you, it could last up to 30 days before losing its freshness if kept in the refrigerator and unopened.
How Long Does Craft Beer Last in a Can?
The small-batch nature of the typical craft beer’s production process can work wonders for its shelf life. While different types of beer might last longer than others, they still can be enjoyed longer than beers brewed at scale.
If your customers prefer to refrigerate their beer to keep it cold, they can expect it to last much longer. Some craft beers last for months with proper refrigeration—if your customers can go that long without drinking them.
Finding the Right Can Seamer Machine for Crowlers
You can offer beer Crowlers to go without having to outsource to a canning service. All it takes is finding a can seaming machine that accommodates the gargantuan cans you’re looking to provide to your customers. That’s where Oktober can help.
The most robust model we offer, the Oktober Model 8 Can Seamer is the Rolls-Royce of beer canning machines. With it, you or your employees can easily seal a single Crowler can full of craft beer in about three seconds.
The Model 8 is available in multiple different variations and can be retooled for almost any size. Adapters for Crowler cans are available, all with a footprint that takes up a tiny amount of space on your bartop. We offer the Model 8 in even more custom color options than your local car dealership.
We built the semi-automatic Oktober Model 7 Can Seamer back in the day with craft breweries in mind. Although there is slightly more manual power involved in its use than with the Model 8, it’s still easy to use, clean, and effective.
To use the Model 7, the user just needs to pull two separate levers to bring the rollers against the can. It takes just a few seconds and minimal training, and it pays for itself far sooner than you think.
The Model 7 works with a wide range of can sizes and is also available in custom colors.