First Beer, Neon Rainbows, Available 5/26
COOPERSTOWN – Brewery Ommegang today announced the installation of a new canning line and the launch of the brewery’s first on-site-only can release, the New England-style IPA Neon Rainbows, which to-date has been available only in very limited quantities on draft.
The first canned run of Neon Rainbows will deliver 16-ounce four-packs for sale only at the brewery beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26, one case per customer.
The maiden canning run for the new system was on Tuesday, April 24, when Ommegang’s Nirvana IPA was packaged in 16-ounce cans for the very first time.
“For hop-forward beers and others that tend to travel with our drinkers to mountain tops, beaches, concerts and beyond, cans are an ideal format,” said Rick DeBar, Ommegang’s technical manager. “Not only do they provide additional protection against light strike, but they’re more environmentally friendly on multiple levels as well, something we always strive to take into account.”
A canning contract with Utica’s FX Matt Brewery has enabled Ommegang to have both Witte Wheat Ale and Nirvana IPA in cans for distribution in New York for the past two years, but the desire to produce cans in Cooperstown began more than four years ago.
“We’ve been talking about canning our beers for a number of years, and with the help of FX Matt, we were able to get two of our most popular warm weather offerings into cans while we looked for the right canning line for our facility. It took us more than a year to find a supplier that could build us the line we wanted, meeting our strict quality standards while also integrating with the space we have available in our packaging hall,” says DeBar.
Ommegang’s new canning line accommodates 12, 16 and 19.2 oz cans and produces about 40 cans per minute. It occupies a compact space within the brewery’s packaging facility, even tying into the existing bottling line once the cans are filled and sealed.
“Having a smaller canning line enables us to produce small runs and to experiment with a variety of beers in this packaging format,” says DeBar. “It also help us ensure that cans will always be fresh since there won’t be large volumes sitting on shelves.”
Current Ommegang beers in cans are Nirvana IPA, Witte, Fruition, and Short Sleeve Saison, all canned at FX Matt and available in NY. Ommegang has several other canned beers in the works for 2018 and will share details of those beers throughout the year.