Try and figure out all the packaging options available for Miller Lite and you’ll make yourself dizzy. Cans, Vortex bottles, aluminum pints, plastic pints; 8, 12, 16, 24, 32 ounces at a time; six-packs, 9-packs, 12-packs, 15-packs, 18-packs, 24-packs. The list goes on.
Bud and Coors do the same. It’s a clever trick that helps them jockey for more shelf space at stores, and it usually works.
Now craft breweries are getting in on the action. Real Ale started canning Firemans #4 and Rahr & Sons recently started canning Rahr ’ s Blonde after years of bottling. Both beers remain available in bottles.
However, despite the booming can trend, until recently, most craft beers were available in six-packs only. If a 12-pack was available, it was probably bottles.
Now, a trip to the liquor store means you’ve got more than just beer choice. You’ve got packaging choice, and the advent of the canned 12-pack is helping bring craft beer more into the mainstream. Among several recent sightings were the aforementioned Rahr’s Blonde, New Belgium Fat Tire, Founders All Day IPA (also available in 15-packs), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Harpoon Summer and Southern Star Bombshell Blonde.
Packaging diversification is nothing new for Conroe’s Southern Star Brewing. Being the first craft brewery to can in Texas, it offered Bombshell Blonde originally in 12-ounce cans, then added 16-ounce cans, and now, 12-packs of 12-ounce cans.
Bombshell Blonde is one of our state’s best gateway craft beers. It’s light on the palate with no bitterness and a slightly creamy finish. Its clean, slightly sweet flavor has turned many a lite drinker to the craft side. Bombshell is a beer drinker’s beer.
There’s something unpretentious and wholly American about the 12-pack of cans. It says “Bring me to a party and share me with your friends. I won’t judge you. Let’s party.”
That’s something for which we can all clink a can together to toast this Independence Day weekend.
Cedar Creek anniversary: Speaking of cans, Cedar Creek is celebrating two years in business this weekend with extended tour hours. The Sevens Point brewery, southeast of Dallas, has really hit its stride lately and has become one of the state’s underappreciated breweries. It’ll be open noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There’s a $10 cover charge, with beers for $3-$4.
Mix packs on the uptick, too: In addition to craft beer trending in 12-packs of a single kind, several breweries are now offering mixed 12-packs with two to four varieties in each pack. Uinta, Ska, New Belgium and Upslope are the most notable breweries so far to offer these, and more breweries are expected to follow suit.