After installing a new canning line, Barossa Valley Brewing is expanding nationally and rolling out new branding.
Located in one of South Australia’s most famous wine regions, Barossa Valley, the brewery team chose to install a canning line for two important reasons – beer quality and the environment.
“Everyone knows kegs are the best way to store, move and dispense fresh beer. Cans are mini kegs. No light, much less oxygen due to the filling process. These are two of the main factors in the degradation of beer when it leaves the brewery,” Barossa Valley Brewing founder Denham D’Silva told Beer & Brewer.
“BVB has a goal to be carbon neutral and we are now formulating our plans. Cans are core to this. Cans are indefinitely recyclable, coloured glass is not. As a result your average can generally contains about double the amount of recycled material than bottles.
“The weight of a 330ml can is 13g, a same sized bottle is 239g. A lot of petrol saved given the weight difference when moving beer. In a few words, cans are much better for the environment.”
In addition to its goal to become carbon neutral, the brewery is also giving back to the local community by engaging Barossa Enterprises (BE) to do all the packaging for its cans.
“BE finds works for people with mental and physical disabilities. By paying BE to handle packaging we have created full time work for five supported employees. Not only does it provide income, it provides a sense of belonging, friendship and pride,” said D’Silva.
One potential drawback of cans is that the minimum order is 50,000, which can prevent breweries from experimenting due to the pressure to sell 50,000 cans. As Barossa Valley Brewery has a commitment to experimentation, reflected in its new branding, it has circumvented this issue through engaging BE to handle its packaging.
“Thanks to our relationship with BE we can label blank cans. This allows us to experiment with small runs of cans. As an example, right now we are brewing a Christmas stout, which will be aged in barrels until December and released as a very limited 50 case special in December,” explained D’Silva.
The Barossa Valley team are extending the flexibility of its small batch canning line to contract and gypsy brewers to help aspiring brewers and encourage experimentation in the industry.
“I am a believer that the barriers to entry for aspiring brewers are too big. Excise rules do not help. It costs millions to set up a brewery, returns are tight, even contract brewing is a huge risk given the volumes which need to be brewed,” said D’Silva.
“For this reason many great beer ideas never make it out into the market. The more different beers make it into the hands of consumers, the better for the industry, the better for our brewery.
“For this reason we have created a structure so people with a great idea and passion for great beer can brew small batches of beer with us. Our minimum quantity is 1,800 litres, which can be split into cans and kegs. This is roughly as little as a bit more than 100 cartons and 16 kegs.”
Barossa Valley Brewing will be celebrating its new cans with the rebranding through a series of parties in Adelaide, Melbourne, QLD and NSW. More details to come in the next few weeks.