Given it’s the beginning of the year, I thought it was an opportune moment to let you know what myself and the rest of the brewing team are hoping to achieve in 2016.

Arguably the most significant event of this year will be the installation and commissioning of a brand new KHS Filler. It has been a long process and I have spent many an hour sat round a table persuading my fellow directors that this was the right decision.

The decision making process began early last year. We had numerous options on the table, including a cheaper machine, a less dramatic jump in capacity of the new filler and the most contentious option, which was purchasing a canning line instead.

In terms of the canning option, I have had even good friends in the industry question if this was the right decision to make.

I have written on canning lines previously and I have not changed my view. In fact, listening to this recent podcast with Dan Gordon, a Brewmaster who opened his first brewpub in 1987, and Charlie Bamforth, arguably the most well-known of brewing’s Professors, has only compounded my view:

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/the-session-dan-gordon-dr-bamforth/ (from 1 hr 40 onwards):

Here is the transcript of what was said on the subject of canning lines:

Dan Gordon: Oxygen is super critical. We measure oxygen content during bottling and anything over 25ppb we consider unacceptable. What’s interesting is the movement in the craft sector towards cans. Theoretically for quality and environmental stability, in terms of light getting through, oxygen is the worst enemy we have and the best can filler cannot get values that are less than double that of a bottler.

Host: Really?

Dan Gordon: Yeah. You can’t vacuum a can.

Host: Oh, I see.

Dan Gordon: It’s one of those things they call the crafty brewing sector. They’re going for image and not on quality as if it were really driven by quality there wouldn’t be any craft beer in cans.

Charles Bamforth: No-ones saying oxygen can get into a can, the original level is higher but it wont pick up over time

Host: So what surprises me about this is that the big brewers seem to be dedicated to quality, so i’m surprised that cans are their vessel of choice.

Dan Gordon: The sales and marketing department drive the package. Not the brewers. You can buy a very cheap canning line cheaper than a very cheap bottling line.

Host: You know this is different to what all our other guests come in and say?

Dan Gordon: It’s just fact. We’ve analysed lots of beers that come into our place for trouble shooting and the main problem is always oxidation. If you spend 3 million dollars on a canning line then yeah, you’re going to have a pretty damn good product. But it’s not going to be as good as a 3 million dollar bottling line.

Host: You’re saying they can’t get to the 25ppb level in a can?

Dan Gordon: No how, no way.