Tallgrass Brewing Company makes the move to cans

The canning line arrived yesterday at the Tallgrass Brewing Company in Manhattan, Kansas. The only problem? The craft brewer already has a bottling line.
“When we started the brewery, we were only doing draft. Nobody was asking, ‘When are you going to start canning?’ It was always, ‘When are you going to start bottling?'” says Jeff Gill, who started Tallgrass in 2007 with his wife Tricia.

Last Friday in a “Canifesto,” Gill announced that the four-year-old microbrewery would be making the switch from bottles to cans in May. The decision was part ecological, part economical and definitely representative of the unconventional style of a former environmental geologist turned brewer. 

Last year, a customer called in to say that he had 20 cases of bottles in his garage. The customer lived too far away to drop them off and didn’t have a local recycling option for the glass and cardboard. 

“People tell us the boxes are so pretty, I feel bad throwing them away. Well, I feel bad you throwing them away too,” said Gill.

With a planned expansion into Missouri and Nebraska, Gill knew that switching from bottles to cans would be a lot more difficult if Tallgrass continued to grow. So last fall, he began researching canned craft beers in the region.

“That’s the kind of research I love,” he says. “Drinking beer.” 

He researched canning operations at the Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and the Half Acre Beer Company in Chicago. Once he was satisfied that the packaging didn’t affect the beer inside, Gill decided to join their ranks. 

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink